12-year-old girl airlifted to hospital after horse fall

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By Oliver Farrimond

A TEAM of medics were last night treating a 12-year-old girl for serious head injuries after she was airlifted to hospital after falling from a horse.

An RAF rescue team was scrambled to a private beach at Seacliff in North Berwick shortly before lunch-time yesterday (tues) after an ambulance crew initially called to the scene ruled her condition was too risky for her to be ferried by road.

The girl suffered injuries to her head and hands, but described by a Coastguard spokesman as being “conscious” during the take-off and landing of the Sea King helicopter.

The chopper crew from RAF Boulmer in Northumberland was called out shortly after 11.10am and arrived at The Meadows near the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh by 12.30pm.

Hospital staff at the Sick Kids confirmed they were treating the schoolgirl but were last night still awaiting permission from her family before releasing any further details of her name or condition.

The accident happened at a beauty spot called Seacliff, privately owned by the Dale family since 1919.

It was understood the child had been taking part in a summer event organised by the East Lothian Pony Club.

The club based in Tyninghame Park, was set up in 1952 to help teach children at all levels the correct way to ride.

A spokesman for East Lothian Council said: “Although this was not a Council event, we have a duty to carry out a health and safety assessment because the incident happened in an area accessed by the public.

“While we are carrying out this work it would be inappropriate for us to comment further.”

One eyewitness to the rescue, who did not want to be named, said: “We saw a yellow helicopter landing about 30 or 40 yards from where people were gathered.

“It was landing on very soft sand so we were worried it might sink in.

“But it was set down and away again very quickly.”

A spokesperson for the Coastguard said: “Horse riders are usually well-equipped with helmets and similar, so we don’t usually get called out to incidents like these.

“However in this kind of situation the coastguard is the best equipped, especially this near to the coast.

“Frequently the other emergency services call us and we co-ordinate operations of this kind.

“On this terrain we are the experts.”

In a separate incident yesterday lifeboat crews had to rescue a man who fell 15 feet from a stone pier onto a pontoon at Anstruther harbour.

A lifeboat moved the man, believed to be in his late 50s, onto a slipway to be treated by ambulance crews for possible head injuries.

Bill Smith, harbour master, said that the man had been out fishing for mackerel with two other men.

He said: “He was climbing a ladder with a full bag of fish over his shoulder when he slipped and fell backwards onto the pontoon.

“He remained conscious the whole time, so hopefully his injuries are not too serious.”

A Fife Fire and Rescue spokesperson confirmed they attended at the accident, which happened just after 3pm yesterday afternoon, and helped recover the man was taken to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee for treatment.

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