AN ACCRINGTON teenager has cheated death by inches - for a second time.
Anya Wheatcroft, 19, of Blackburn Road, is recovering in Burnley General Hospital after she was a passenger in a van involved in a road accident on Accrington Road, Burnley, last Saturday.
She suffered serious back injuries as well as bruising and a broken thumb, and surgeons have told her family that if her wounds were just millimetres higher she could have suffered internal bleeding and spleen damage.
In 2003 Anya narrowly avoided serious brain damage when she lost her right eye in a horseriding accident - doctors then said she was half a centimetre away from death.
She was given a false eye and pledged to return to college to pursue her dream of becoming a riding instructor. She was due to return to her studies next month.
Her stepmum Lyndsay Wheatcroft, 39, said: "Anya's doing okay and recovering pretty well. She's either the unluckiest girl in the world or the luckiest, depending on how you look at it.
"It's been very, very close both times and she's lucky to be alive, having cheated death once again. I can't believe it.
"I'm just so pleased that she's still with us when it could have been so different. She's lucky to be here.
"In 2003 they told us that if the injury had been half a centimetre to the side she would have had brain damage. The doctors here have told us that if the injury to her back was any higher it could have damaged vital organs."
The accident occurred on Saturday when Mrs Wheatcroft, her husband Darren and Anya were travelling in a white Vauxhall Combo van, which was in collision with a Suzuki 600cc motorcycle. Mr and Mrs Wheatcroft were both treated in hospital for minor injuries.
The motorcycle driver Narvik Woods, 19, of Stubbins Vale Terrace, Stubbins, was flown by air ambulance to the Royal Preston Hospital with a neck fracture and remains in intensive care in a stable condition.
Police are conducting a full investigation into the circumstances of the accident.
Anya was yesterday said to be in a stable condition and responding well to treatment.