Lucky to be alive after boat accident


An uncle and nephew have told how they feel lucky to be alive after suffering serious injuries in a boating accident in Cornwall.

Ian and Tyler Cope were thrown from a speedboat after it hit a freak wave in Pentewan Sands, near Mevagissey, two weeks ago.

Ian, 41, was struck in the face by the boat's propeller while 14- year-old Tyler was hit in the leg.

Both underwent surgery at Royal Cornwall Hospital and are now back home in their native Staffordshire recovering.
Self-employed ventilation engineer Ian, from Knypersley, near Stoke-on-Trent, had to have his eye socket rebuilt and metal plates put into his face following the accident. He said: "As the propeller revolved it chopped into my chin, took a gouge out of my cheek, then hit me above my eyebrow and my forehead.

"It could have been worse as it could have cut through my throat or taken out my eyeball. I'm lucky to be alive.

"The left side of my face feels like cardboard. I've got no sensation. And I have double vision. I'm hoping my eye will eventually go back into focus."

Ian said he had only just launched the boat into the water when the accident happened, and that he wasn't sure whether wearing a lifejacket saved his life or caused his injuries.

He said: "I was only wearing the lifejacket because it was a new one my friend had bought me.

"But I'm not sure if it snagged on the propeller which then kept hitting my face.

"If I hadn't been wearing it, I could have sunk and nobody might have got to me in time.

"I remember looking up and screaming but thinking it was pointless because nobody would hear me.

"I know the boat inside out. I've been out in it thousands of times and have never come out of it. There's probably not even a one in a million chance of it happening again."

Ian said the boat did not have a "kill cord", which cuts the engine if pulled, as coastguards had reported.

"I want to thank everyone at the hospital in Cornwall and the caravan site where we stayed as they were all brilliant."

Tyler, who lives in Kidsgrove with his father David and father's partner Jane, underwent two operations on his foot after the accident, and is due to go back to hospital next week to have another cast put on.

The student, who is due to return to his secondary school on Wednesday, said: "I feel all right now."
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