Ravine fall skier 'eternally grateful' to doctors

Olivia Corbiere
Olivia suffered multiple injuries after a skiing accident in Bulgaria in March [BBC / Simon Thake]

A woman who was was given a "five percent chance of survival" after plunging into a ravine while skiing in Bulgaria has praised her friends and the medics who "saved my life".

Olivia Corbiere, 23, from Aston, near Sheffield, suffered serious injuries, including a bleed on the brain and a broken pelvis, in the accident on 17 March.

She was airlifted to the UK and treated at the Northern General Hospital and Royal Hallamshire in Sheffield before being released in April.

Now recovering at home, Olivia said she was “eternally grateful” to the doctors that had treated her.

Olivia Corbiere
Olivia's family were told she had only a "five percent chance of survival" [Family photo]

Olivia, an experienced skier, was on a skiing trip with friends to Bankso, in southwest Bulgaria, following her birthday, when she was injured.

She said she had no memory of the accident but that her friends and family had helped her “fill in the gaps”.

“The last thing I remember is the night before the accident," she said.

"It was about 4am and some of the girls were just getting back to the apartment. I told them ‘get to bed, we’ve got skiing in the morning'."

The next thing she remembered was waking up five weeks later in a hospital bed in Sheffield.

Olivia said she had "slipped" in the slush on a stretch where the snow had melted in the sun and then fallen 20ft (6m) into a ravine at the side of the slope.

She said: "Three of my friends jumped in and dragged me away.

"They saved my life. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them."

She was airlifted to hospital in Bulgaria where she underwent brain surgery before being placed in an induced coma and flown back to the UK for further treatment.

She said doctor’s informed her family she had sustained numerous serious injuries, including a damaged spine, broken pelvis and fractured skull, and she had been given just a “five per cent chance of survival”.

Thanking the medics who treated her she said she would be “eternally grateful” for their hard work.

“They did an incredible job on my skull," she said.

"I was able to have a metal plate put in quickly and they removed debris from my skull. The care from the NHS in England too was amazing."

Now back at home she said she had been told she was expected to make a full recovery.

“They’ve said my pelvis is fully healed after the last scan, my plate on my head has healed, I just need my eye lid muscle to get stronger," she told the BBC.

She said she would need a hearing aid for her right ear, while her right eye was only just starting to open and she is still feeling the affects of Bell's palsy on the right side of her face.

Her mother, Linzi, said the past few months had been “incredibly tough” for the family, adding: "I didn’t think we’d get our little girl back, with the injuries she had."

Olivia said she was hoping to return to her job as a kitchen fitter in the next month and also hoped to be back out on the slopes soon.

“I’d go skiing again for sure," she said.

"People get in car accidents and drive again.

"Why should I let something that was a complete accident put me off something I really enjoy and hold me back?”

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