A MUSICIAN has spoken out about a near-death experience on holiday in Tenerife which changed her life forever.

Caroline Guirr, from Prudhoe, was on the island with partner Tom Cantwell last year and, while walking on a pavement, was hit by the rear door of a passing refrigerator wagon which swung open.

The impact of the accident threw her against a wall, fracturing three vertebrae, six ribs, her shoulder blade in two places, and collar bone, as well as causing multiple internal injuries and several injuries to her head and teeth.

“It was a case of wrong place, wrong time, but I was also really lucky,” she said. “If I was in any other place on the footpath I probably wouldn’t be alive.”

Seeing the vehicle pass with its rear doors open, Tom initially ran after it to warn the driver, before realising Caroline had been hit.

“It wasn’t until I turned around when I saw Caroline in a heap on the floor,” he said.

“The police arrived before the ambulance and said they would not take her to a hospital without a passport. I ran to the hotel to get the passports, but when I got back there was no one there and just blood all over the pavement.”

Caroline had been airlifted by helicopter to hospital in Santa Cruz, 100 kilometres away, and Tom managed to get a lift from nearby resident.

But the trauma didn’t end there. “When I got to the hospital, no one knew where she was,” said Tom. “I was handed a bag filled with her clothes. I thought she was dead and I collapsed on the floor.”

After being reunited, the pair remained in hospital for around a week before flying home. The accident has left Caroline unable to play the trumpet and piano to the standard she used to, but she successfully played The Last Post on Remembrance Sunday on the bugle for the Royal British Legion in her first engagement since the ordeal.

She said: “Pain from my injuries continues, but is no longer hindering my daily activities.”