A MOTHER from Rotherham has told how she battled to save her daughter’s life after she broke her neck in an horrific waterslide accident while on holiday abroad.
Adele Olcer, 41, was forced into action after her five-year-old daughter Zara, fell backwards out of a double rubber ring on a high-speed slide in Turkey, banged her head and was knocked unconscious. The mother-of-two was then forced to watch her daughter lifelessly slump down the flume.
Mrs Olcer managed to grab Zara and got her in the recovery position and cleared her airways by cracking her tooth before the youngster was rushed to hospital.
Doctors said Zara could have been paralysed - but she spent three weeks in hospital before returning back to the UK and has now made a full recovery.
Mrs Olcer said: “My initial reaction was she was dead - I turned her over when I got to the bottom and her eyes were open.
“I thought that was it. She wasn’t breathing and her jaw was locked.”
As the tunnel slide opened out, Mrs Olcer, who was sat in the front ring, and Zara, who at this point had fallen out the ring, collided and the little girl came to a stop, face down and lifeless.
As Zara’s panicked dad and sister had been waiting next in line and frantically made their way down the steps towards them.
Mrs Olcer pushed one of Zara’s teeth in to help open her mouth, move her tongue and clear her throat.
She said: “I could see what had happened and was screaming, I tipped myself out of the ring to try and get to her but the water was so powerful I couldn’t do anything so I had to wait until we came to a stop.
“Then I heard her breath and so I put her in the recovery position until the ambulance arrived,” she recalled. “I had done an advanced first aid course a week before we went on holiday with work, which is what I think made me stay calm.”
Zara broke bones in her neck and skull, broke her arm in two places and was left with double vision after the accident at the picturesque Nirvana Lagoon in Kemer.
“It was horrendous, I can’t begin to tell you what was going through my mind,” Mrs Olcer said.
“On top of it all when she got to hospital the doctors did very little until we could prove we had insurance.
“Of course, you never keep those documents on you, so it took us about half-an-hour of going through emails to prove we had insurance.”
Medics later told the family, including dad Firat, 39, and Zara’s older sister Isabel, aged nine, that things could have been much worse - if the break had been a quarter-of-an inch nearer to her spine, she would have been paralysed from the neck down.
Zara was kept in hospital abroad for three weeks, while Mrs Olcer’s father Frank, 74, holidaying with the family flew home with Zara’s sister Isabel.
Mr Olcer’s colleagues at Asda, in Handsworth, raised £2,300 to cover the cost of keeping both parents by her side.
Zara was then looked after by Sheffield Children’s Hospital as an outpatient following her return home.
Speaking about her daughter’s injuries, Mrs Olcer said: “Her broken arm wasn’t even picked up until we got home - we did keep saying that it didn’t look right.”
Zara had to wear a neck collar for four months and could not return to school full-time until last September.
She was given the all clear in December and Adele said her daughter was now back to her normal self.
Mrs Olcer added: “We know how lucky we are - so many children have similar accidents and are not as lucky as Zara.”