A photography student who found herself trapped inside an overturned car after it tumbled over an embankment several times has praised the Scottish Ambulance Service crews who came to her aid.
Emma Kirk, of Perth, was on her way to capture the Northern Lights – aurora borealis – in Pitlochry with friend and photographer Mark Angus, 37, also of Perth, when their car overturned.
The pair, who were travelling with Emma’s pug dog Frankie, were driving towards Kinloch Rannoch when the car skidded, hitting a pole before flying over the edge of the road.
The car ended upside down, after flipping around four times, leaving the trio trapped inside.
Emma, 32, said: “We had taken a few pictures before the accident. We had got back in the car, and we slid just before it happened. Mark said it was black ice.
“The car was going everywhere. We came round a bend and all I can remember is hitting a post.”
The car tumbled off the bank, with Emma remembering little, aside from it being a “blur”.
She continued: “We initially crashed into to black and white bollard. Mark said there was smoke and flames everywhere – I couldn’t see it, I had my eyes closed, but I could remember smelling the smoke.
“He went to kick his window open, and as he did we went over the edge.
“The car rolled over about four times I think – I don’t remember much. It was all a bit of a blur. We were upside down. He got the window open, and then got out. My belt would not come off – it was stuck.
“He came back in, got my seatbelt off and managed to pull me out. Just as he got me out, the next car to come along just happened to be a doctor.”
Emma did not get the name of the doctor, but wanted to pass on her gratitude for her bravery. Three resources from the Scottish Ambulance Service were quickly dispatched; they included emergency responders Selene Rae, Louise Manley and Tom Woodstone.
Emma added: “I’m not sure how long we were in the car. It could have been 10 seconds, it could have been very quick, but I don’t remember tumbling at all.
“I thought ‘this is a bad rollercoaster – I’m hanging upside down’. I was more worried about my dog. He was checking if I was okay, but all I asked was ‘where’s the dog?’ Frankie was fine.”
She said the doctor checked her and Mark over, and an ambulance was called, and quickly dispatched.
Emma and Mark were both taken to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee after the accident on December 6 at 8.30pm; they were discharged the following day. Frankie, meanwhile, was taken to Perth Police Station.
Amazingly, both walked away relatively unscathed; Emma had bruising to her shoulder and collarbone, plus a few cuts, while Mark suffered back pain.
A few days later, Emma and Mark were taken by a friend to see the car, which was still overturned.
Emma said: “We got some pictures of it and all the camera gear out of the car. We are extremely lucky, considering how bad the accident was, and how bad the car was.
“We are so lucky none of us died – yes, we are sore, but that’s to be expected. All the ambulance service staff were so lovely. I also wanted to thank the doctor – I have no idea who she was, but she was lovely.”