A driver who was trapped in his overturned convertible for 12 hours following an accident that left him thrown around the car ‘like someone in a clothes dryer’ after he swerved to avoid hitting a sheep.
Kenneth Kinley, 57, was trapped inside his Vauxhall Cascada after rolling down an embankment as he tried to avoid hitting cattle on a country road just before midnight on February 12.
The semi-retired psychiatric nurse was returning home at around 11.40pm after dropping her partner Susan Dawson, 55, off at her home in Shotts, North Lanarkshire, after flying to Edinburgh Airport after holidays in Malta.
Kenneth drove home to East Ayrshire – but lost control of his convertible on the B743 towards Muirkirk after swerving to avoid hitting a sheep.
The car rolled over several times and landed upside down, both doors blocked by the banks of a ravine, where it could not be seen from the road.
Kenneth’s right ankle was shattered by the collision, but he was conscious and it took him 90 minutes before he could free himself from the seat belt.
His girlfriend kept calling him because he hadn’t let her know he was home, but his phone had a 5% battery – and he tried to start some fires to lure the attention of passing drivers.
He said: “After 10 o’clock, by pure chance, my other half rang again and I heard it much closer.
“It was under the driver’s seat, but with the car upside down, it was on top.
“There was 5% battery left on it.
“As soon as I found it I phoned my partner and said ‘look, call the police, call an ambulance’, told them the stretch of road I was on and then waited .”
Kenneth continued: “The car was upside down over a stream, the windshield was shattered into pieces.
“I couldn’t find my phone and tried to break the glass.
“There is a tool the firefighters have that costs five cents that you can use to break windows, I would recommend it to anyone and keep your phone in your coat.
“The convertible saved me, if it was a hatchback it would have been crushed.
“I was in the car for 12.5 hours.
“I moved in May and bought a property, but I can’t do anything about it at the moment.
“I was able to open the door slightly – so I set things on fire to see if I could get anyone’s attention.
“I could hear cars going by but no one was stopping.”
A helicopter was sent to scan the area and after 40 minutes found the car, before firefighters, paramedics and police were all dispatched.
Kenneth said: “The first thing I saw were two police officers.
“They couldn’t believe I had been there all night, until they could see how cold I was, how I was shivering.
“And then the rest of the crews were just amazing.
“The paramedic team was just great.
“One of the crew even got inside the car with me and sat next to me to protect me while the windows were smashed so the firefighters could cut the sides.”
It took another two hours for medics to pull him out of the wreckage. and was taken to Crosshouse Hospital where metal plates were fitted into his ankle.
Later, with his kidneys still in shock, he was rushed to the kidney unit which he says saved his life.
Kenneth also said breaking his ankle saved his life, as he suffered kidney failure in hospital, which would have killed him had he not been spotted.
He faces five weeks in a wheelchair and another six weeks of recovery.
The crash happened less than a year after Kenneth returned to Scotland from London, and his car was written off.
Kenneth said: “It happened on a blind turn, the sheep was in the middle of the road. I swerved and the next minute there was no road.
“I managed to call Susan when my phone was at five per cent battery to let her know where I was and dial 999.
“The doctors told him that if it had lasted half an hour longer, I would have left.”
Kenneth managed to get into the back seats, put bags on the soaked soft top of the car that was submerged in water, and resigned himself to the possibility that this was his last night alive.
An endoscopy revealed that although Kenneth was tossed around the car “like someone in a clothes dryer”, there were no serious injuries to his vital organs.
He added: “The 999 crew was amazing, a paramedic got in the car with me as the firefighters smashed the windows, for reassurance.
“The emergency services have been absolutely amazing, I can’t praise them enough for what they did and how they did it.”
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