Oban­ite lucky to be alive af­ter 120ft fall

The Oban Times - - News - LOUISE GLEN lglen@oban­times.co.uk

A FORMER Oban painter and dec­o­ra­tor says he has pushed ‘ the re­set but­ton on life’ af­ter he fell more than 120 feet from the cliff side at Gal­lanach.

Steven Hill lay badly in­jured and hid­den from sight for many hours fol­low­ing the in­ci­dent in late Septem­ber be­fore pass­ing cy­clists fi­nally heard his cries for help and phoned for an am­bu­lance – sav­ing his life.

The 42-year- old had re­turned to Oban for a short hol­i­day to take stock of his life, and an an­cient maple tree on the hill­side at Gal­lanach is one of his favourite spots, so he went there look­ing to find some peace.

Mr Hill said: ‘ It was about 2.20am on a Sun­day morn­ing and I got out of my tent to go for a stretch. I tried to roll a cig­a­rette, I then fell asleep out­side the tent.

‘ The next thing I felt [some three hours later] was slip­ping off the hill­side and fall­ing through the air. It was a very strange feel­ing. Some­how I man­aged to fall in a foetal po­si­tion.

‘ The same words were go­ing over and over in my head: ‘ from now on Steven you re­ally need to re­alise that there is one thing im­por­tant in life, and that is love. That’s the last thing I re­mem­ber.

‘ When I re­gained con­scious­ness many hours later I re­alised very quickly that I needed help. I couldn’t stand up and I was in ex­cru­ci­at­ing pain.

‘ I tried as hard as I could to try to pull my­self nearer the road­side to call for help. The first cou­ple of peo­ple who saw me just tried to ig­nore me. I think they prob­a­bly thought I was drunk.

‘ I started to be­lieve that I was go­ing to die there by the road­side and no one would ever come to my res­cue.

‘ Some time later I called to two cy­clists to help and they seemed to just cy­cle by. But in fact they phoned for an am­bu­lance. I can­not thank them enough. I was very tear­ful when the am­bu­lance ar­rived.

‘I went to Lorn and Is­lands hospi­tal, and later in the day I was trans­ferred to the spinal ward in Glas­gow where I spent more than four weeks in re­cov­ery.

‘I had bro­ken more than 120 bones in my body, in­clud­ing a bro­ken neck, mul­ti­ple bro­ken ver­te­brae, in­jury to in­ter­nal or­gans and a head in­jury.’

Mr Hill’s con­di­tion is im­prov­ing but for now he has to wear a car­bon fi­bre multi-met­al­lur­gi­cal al­loy halo with ti­ta­nium plates along­side var­i­ous plates and screws hold­ing his body to­gether.

Si­mon Glen, from Head­way Glas­gow – a char­ity work­ing with peo­ple with ac­quired head in­juries, said: ‘Quite of­ten some­one who has suf­fered a head in­jury will ap­pear to be drunk or un­der the in­flu­ence of drugs. So we of­ten hear that peo­ple have been ig­nored when they re­ally need some help.

‘I would urge peo­ple to not pass by peo­ple on the road­side or near hills as the like­li­hood is that they may have had an in­jury and ur­gent med­i­cal help is cru­cial in a pa­tient’s re­cov­ery.’

Steven Hill fell more than 120 feet and now has to wear a halo to

keep his body’s many bro­ken bones in place.

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