Injured jet ski rider thanks 'brilliant' RNLI
4:24pm Wednesday 22nd August 2012 in News
FOUR and a half weeks after being left severely injured after being struck by a jet ski, Alan Cairns is continuing his slow recovery at home.
Alan, 52, was left with a smashed hip and pelvis in the incident, and lost three pints of blood before he reached hospital.
Taken to Derriford hospital in Plymouth for specialist treatment, he underwent a four-hour operation and has been told he cannot walk for at least another month.
However, looking back on the accident, Alan believes his injuries could have been far worse.
He said: “I was just about stationary when the crash took place, I must have been going at two mph at the most.
“I just heard a noise and turned to see it coming straight at me. Luckily I was wearing an impact vest, and I think that must have prevented some worse injuries.
“It struck me on the hip and leg and sent me flying into the water. I did not lose consciousness, I can remember it all.
“I managed to swim to my friend’s jet ski, it must have been the adrenaline, and he tied my life jacket to the ski to keep me there.
“Other boats came over to help, and I remember the lifeboat arriving. I know most of the crew pretty well, and they were shocked by my injuries. They were brilliant though, I cannot thank them enough for their help on the day.”
The accident happened when Alan was out with a friend and his friend’s son, 12, who was riding the jet ski that smashed into him.
As the trio had launched slightly away from Falmouth, they were not required to have undertaken Royal Yachting Association training, which the Falmouth Harbourmaster requires for jet skiers in the harbour itself.
The incident has made Alan realise how important that training could be. He said: “Looking back, you can see the reason why the harbourmaster wants to see everyone riding a jet ski to have got their RYA ticket. If he had been trained then this incident might not have happened at all.
“I think there should be an age limit on these machines, just like there is with driving, where you can only ride a scooter at 16 and move onto larger engines at 17. These machines can travel at more than 50 mph, there should be more controls.” Alan, who works at Pendennis Shipyard, is now looking forward to getting back on his feet and making a full recovery.
He said: “I was treated fantastically at Derriford hospital, it was like I was a private patient. However, being over in Plymouth meant I did not see many people, so it is good to let everyone know I am back home.
“Every year I help put up the Christmas lights in Penryn, and I will make sure I am back there in some capacity again this year.”