A motorcyclist who was impaled through the mouth with a 4ft spike “like a javelin” in a horror crash made a remarkable recovery – in just two days.
Paul Bradshaw, 55, careered into a ditch where the metal rod speared through his neck and mouth – missing his airway, arteries and spinal cord by millimetres.
He was airlifted to hospital where he underwent a four-and-a-half hour operation and doctors say he is the “luckiest man alive”.
Remarkably, he was well enough to be discharged back home to Scunthorpe, Lincs., just two days after the procedure.
“It is pure good luck that I didn’t die,” he said. “I was going round a bend at a reasonable speed then for some reason the brake lights came on.
“I’ve no idea why that happened and I veered into the ditch. The spike went through my neck and mouth. The doctors said they didn’t know how I hadn’t died.
“It has made me totally appreciate what I have and that we must make the most of what we can.”
The crash happened on Spalding Moor, East Yorks., in June as Paul enjoyed a ride with fellow members of Scunthorpe Bike Club.
His friend James Bell, who was riding behind him, said: “I ran back to him and saw the rod through him. It was shock but I dealt with it.
“When I got there he was trying to get back up and he was saying ‘I can’t get up’. I told him to stay still and dialled 999.
“It is unbelievable that he has survived, someone must have been watching over him.”
Father-of-two Paul was flown by air ambulance to a hospital in Leeds, where Stephen Austin – Maxillofacial Clinical Fellow at Leeds Teaching Hospitals – operated on him.
Mr Austin said: “Mr Bradshaw sustained what could easily have been a fatal injury.
“The metal pole embedded in his neck had passed through the tissues like a javelin, and was only millimetres from damaging his airway, major blood vessels and spinal cord.
“Such injuries are often catastrophic, resulting in asphyxiation, major haemorrhage or paralysis from the neck down.
“The whole team in Leeds, in particular his consultant surgeon Gillon Fabbroni, are delighted for Mr Bradshaw and we send him our very best wishes.”
After just two days in hospital, Paul returned home to the care of his wife Linda, 56, an occupational therapist, and his 21-year-old twin daughters Freya and Olivia, who are studying medicine and physiotherapy at university.
Linda said: “First of all I knew that he had had an accident and I knew that he was on his bike but I thought ‘stay calm.’
“Before I got home I found out that he had been taken to Leeds by air ambulance and the bottom of the world fell out.
“I thought ‘this is serious’ but I didn’t know anything at that point. The doctors said that he was the unluckiest but luckiest man to be alive.”
To thank the air ambulance, Mr Bradshaw is planning to cycle Mount Ventoux – one of the hardest climbs in the Tour de France – with every penny he raises going to their funds.
During National Air Ambulance Week, the Scunthorpe Bike Club is holding an evening of entertainment at Brumby Hall Sports Ground in Scunthorpe.
The event, which will take place on Sunday, September 25, will include a motorbike show, an auction, a barbecue and more.