A TEENAGE girl had a lucky escape when she fell 20 feet from a rope swing into a rocky stream.
Vicky Hope, 15, of Catlow Hall Street, Oswaldtwistle, plunged into Tinker Brook when the home-made rope swing she was playing on snapped.
She BROKE both her wrists, CRACKED her hip bone, severely BRUISED her back and shoulders, KNOCKED herself unconscious and CUT her head open.
But after just two days in hospital she is hoping to be back behind her desk at Rhyddings High School very soon.
Ambulance, mountain rescue and fire crews were called to the scene shortly after 7.15pm last Thursday.
Crew manager Craig Etherington, from Hyndburn Fire Station, said: "The young girl had come off the swing at around 20 feet in the air before landing in the shallow rocky stream. She took an horrific fall and it could have been much worse.
"We lowered two ladders to reach her and put her on a long board to stop her back moving and protect the spine.
"We then put her in a basket stretcher and hauled her up the steep banks of the brook. It was a tricky operation and very labour-intensive.
"She had banged her head and lower back which we thought could have been very serious."
Vicky said: "I had been on the swing before so I just thought 'why not?' I watched some of my friends do it but I wasn't as lucky.
"I don't remember much about what happened apart from not being able to breathe when I landed. I can't describe the pain in my chest."
Vicky was taken to the Royal Blackburn Hospital where she was kept in for two nights.
Her dad John said: "She could so easily have been killed. She has been very lucky.
"Hopefully the kids around here will remember what happened to Vicky when they are next considering taking an unnecessary risk.
"My wife Mal and I would like to offer our heartfelt thanks to the ambulance, fire and rescue teams for their fast response as well as to the staff at the Royal Blackburn Hospital for the care they showed Vicky."
Vicky will be off school for another week to rest her bruised back and to have full plaster casts put on her wrists.
Pat Nuttall, whose home on Merlin Court overlooks the rope swing, said: "Something like this has been waiting to happen for ages. Only five weeks ago fire crews brought out a young boy on a stretcher, who seemed in a bad way. But children will be children."
The rope swing has now been cut down.