A Sheffield schoolgirl diced with death when she nearly drowned during a freak accident on a rope swing.
Jodie Armstrong got her foot trapped in the rope swing, which was suspended over a river, and was left dangling, upside-down, with her head under the water.
The 14-year-old was submerged and struggling for 30 excruciating seconds before she finally managed to break free and was rescued by a search party of steelworkers deployed through Beeley Woods, near Middlewood.
Jodie, who had been out playing with three friends, said: “I fell off the rope swing and my foot got tangled around the rope.
“I was dangling with my head underwater.
“After about 30 seconds I managed to get loose and fell into the water. I had a lot of thoughts going through my head.
“I thought I was in danger. I got back up and I didn’t know what had happened.”
Jodie was left with severe bruising and her ankle was bleeding. Her three friends realised she couldn’t get to safety on her own. Two of them went to find help and the third, fellow Yewlands Academy pupil Kelsea Stancill, also 14, stayed with her.
Kelsea said: “It all happened so quickly. I didn’t notice at first that she had gone underwater. We were all laughing when it happened but it has made me think about things.”
Their friends managed to raise the alarm at nearby business Abbey Forged Products on Beeley Wood Lane, Oughtibridge. Several employees from the factory then went out into the woods to look for Jodie.
Two of them found her and carried her back to their building before calling an ambulance. Jodie said: “I was standing in the water in shock after it happened. As I sat on the bank, I felt really cold and my ankle was just getting bigger and bigger.” Jodie, of Doe Royd Lane, Parson Cross, was taken to Sheffield Children’s Hospital and treated for four hours, before going back later that night in pain and staying overnight.
She said: “It has made me think, but I would probably go on a rope swing again!”
Jodie’s dad, Gary Armstrong, said he considered going back to the woods and cutting down the rope.
He said: “I was at the pictures with my son when I got a call from my other daughter and I cancelled the call.
“Then I got a text saying, ‘call me urgently,’ and she said Jodie had broken her leg, because at first the paramedics thought she had.
“You do start to think of ‘what ifs’ and what could have been. It was a relief that she was all right, but you start to lay down the law about next time.
“I toyed with the idea of going to cut the rope down. At the end of the day, it’s part of growing up. I’m really thankful to Abbey Forged Products too. We took them some beers to say thank you.”