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Old 25 Apr 2006
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Near fatal crash in Senegal

Hi all,

Well I am now beginning to get better after nearly being killed just outside Dakar in Senegal on January 30th. We hit the back of a lorry at night. We had travelled from St Louis and had broken the golden rule of not driving at night. It had been a real hassle as we had been stopped every 10 miles or so by Gendarmerie, customs etc.

Anyway we were driving near Tobola Jablo and when coming round a corner at 50 km hour a lorry was broken down in the middle of the road, no lights etc and we smashed into the back I was trapped by the steering wheel for 45 minutes and suffered multiple internal injuries and damage to my left leg. The spare wheel had come through the windscreen as it was on the bonnet (don't put the spare there it nearly killed us)

I was finally taken to Dakar and the nightmare began. I had to argue for clean needles they had no diagnostic equipment and to find people speaking french was hard enough, The British Embassy though were superb. Thankfully Jan (wifey) and my four daughters were uninjured. I spent two days in hospital and then a fortnight in hotel unable to walk (it seems accroding to my doctor in the UK I should have spent a night in Intensive Care, had an operation and spent two weeks in hospital). I wasn't allowed to leave the country without filing the police report and Assurance. This was a nightmare as I could only file it at the police station nearest the accident. They mainly only spoke Wolof. Again British Embassy helped. Corruption is rife.

I finally filed all the reports and got an english speaking lawyer to act on my behalf, the insurance claim is still going through even though they said only three weeks (yeah right). I would be interested in how many other people have made claims.

Finally I was taken to Gambia and was seen by an english speaking doctor at the MRC. He considered I had a femoral aneuryism and I was flown back to the UK. It was fantastic to get into a UK hospital with diagnostic equipment.

I was only told I was going to die twice in Sengal and Gambia which was scarey.

I am now getting better and walking without crutches although, expectation is another couple of months off work. My intial injuries are too long to list.

So advice on having a crash:-

Get in touch with yoru Embassy - straight away. Make sure you have a mobile phone that is charged - ours wasn't. Do not drive at night. Make sure your med kit is accessible for clean needles. Make sure you have good travel insurance (World Nomands were brilliant) and do get the Vehicle Assurance at the border. Make sure you have lots of money, 500 Uk pounds was needed each day in hospital.

I am mentally - just about getting over the crash.



P.S. Our story will be in Woman Magazine in the UK (1st May) and we will probably publish it as a book (we are talking with a publisher at the moment)
I came, I saw. I ran for it.
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Old 25 Apr 2006
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my sympathies on having such a bad trip. hope the injuries - mental and physical - heal fully.

Initially, I assumed you were on bike as you weren't going very fast, but suffered severe injuries. what were you driving that had such poor lights and so little crumple zone? that might be just as useful a lesson for others.
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Old 25 Apr 2006
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Near Fatal Crash

Originally Posted by RichLees
my sympathies on having such a bad trip. hope the injuries - mental and physical - heal fully.

Initially, I assumed you were on bike as you weren't going very fast, but suffered severe injuries. what were you driving that had such poor lights and so little crumple zone? that might be just as useful a lesson for others.
I was driving a Land Rover 110 CSW, six seats, anything smaller or a bike and we would have been dead. Anything smaller and would have gone underneath the lorry.

The Land Rover saved out lives, I struck the lorry on the drivers side in a small impact area, that is why all the force hit me.

I think maybe without the spare wheel on the bonnet it would have been better.

I will try and upload some pics of the car.


Attached Thumbnails
Near fatal crash in Senegal-crashside.jpg  

Near fatal crash in Senegal-crashfront.jpg  

I came, I saw. I ran for it.
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Old 7 May 2006
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Hi Andy

Sorry to hear about the accident, I travelled the road loads of times and had countless near misses, can you tell me the name of the hospital or clinic that you stayed in in Dakar.

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Old 8 May 2006
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Good luck with your recovery, Andy.

In the few times we have been unfortunate enough to ride at night (because we had to), we have seen numerous vehicles literally stopped in the middle of the road. It is hard to believe how stupid some drivers are, why they couldn't pull their vehicles to the side and place some rocks, branches or something else as a warning was beyond me.

I can totally understand what happened to you and I am glad you survived.
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Old 8 May 2006
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that's some tough luck, all the best for a speedy recovery
Pictures, Mauritania 2011
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Old 9 May 2006
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The survivability of 4x4s in an accident is a bit of an urban myth. They don't have to pass the same crash tests as cars. what tends to happen in the event of high speed collisions is that the passenger cell survives quite well, better than a car, but the level of trauma of the occupants is higher because of the lack of crumple zones. the initial impact is only the begining. secondary impact comes from objects in the vehicle, frequently underestimated. even in a normal car a small child unresrained in the back will hit the front seat with a force of several tons, breaking the seat back and killing or seriously injuring the front seat occupants as well as the child. A tool box weighs about the same and will kill you. The other secondary impact comes from you bouncing off the inside of the vehicle, and here many 4x4s suffer because of a lack of internal padding.
One advantage though is that if you hit something the size of a truck you have height on your side. without the crash bars you see on european trucks a car would just submarine underneith.
Although it looks as though the spare wheel has caused quite a bit of ingress into the passenger cell, it has remained attached to the bonnet and looks as though it has absorbed quite a bit of the impact. It may be that without it the rear of the truck would have gone into the windscreen pillars and caused more damage.

my advice on first aid kits would be to carry what ever you can get your hands on, and take some professional advice. I'm an emergency nurse so I know how to use most of my stuff, but even if you don't, someone there might. A doctor or nurse on holiday on their bike won't have a lot of kit, but they will know how to use yours. The minimum is clean needles, syringes, dressings, saline (tins for contact lenses are handy) and a collection of drugs. be cautious with codeinebased preparations though, in some countries it is illegal and will get you arrested, I have to carry a home office drug licence. If anyone wants a list of what I keep in my kit email me and I'll send you a copy.

In the pictures below the ambie was hit by a low loader from behind and pushed into another in front. fortunately for the driver he had time to realise he was a passenger in someone elses accident and pulled his feet up out of the way.
The only injury was a leg injury to the passenger in the rear of the vehicle who was unsecured.

It was an impressive display from the rover though, but it did have the advantage of the impact point being lower, so the chassis took a lot more of it. landrover body work is ally, not steel remember.

incidently, the army have stopped putting spare wheels on the bonnet because they have found the weight of it cracks the injector pipes on the 300tdi

Toyota H60
landy 101 ambie/camper
1968 morris minor traveller
Attached Thumbnails
Near fatal crash in Senegal-ambie-small-1.jpg  

Near fatal crash in Senegal-ambie-small-2.jpg  

Near fatal crash in Senegal-ambie-small-3.jpg  

1990 Landcruiser H60. Full rebuild completed 2014
2012 Hilux, mountain top and bedrug with GG AT2s

Last edited by moggy 1968; 9 May 2006 at 16:47.
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Old 9 May 2006
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I Agree with Moggy

The survability of modern 4x4 is a urban myth . Definitely they can do more harm (to others ) than normal cars... but they are also more dangerous to be in during a crash .

That is for modern 4x4s (Toyota´s prados , Mitshu pajeros ,etc)

However , the classic Landrover (either the series or the defender ,they don´t change much from a structural point of view) is probbably the worst car in the world to be in a head on crash .

Several factors come here

1 Absolutely lack of crumple zones in the bonnet . The frame is rigid and the bonnet , either stays rigid (hence killing the occupants by pure decceleration) or collapse hence killing the occupants by crushing them

2 Lack of internal padding. In a landrover you can still hit your head against pure raw metal , either from the steering , OR the gear , the floors , etc.

3 aluminium body on a Steel chasis sounds like a good idea , but during a crash , a serious crash , the whole body collapses catastrophically

4 Lack of airbags , and more importantly , the steering column pointing directly to the driver. Most cars have crumple areas (breaking points) in the steering linkage. Unlike landrovers , i which it is simply a 1 inch thick bar or steeel pointing the chest of the driver.

Honestly , I rather smash head on against a wall at 60 mpg with my normal car , than at 30mhp with a LandRover. Their survibability-It is a myth , they are actually much more dangerous than normal cars.

Good to hear that you are getting well . Andy.

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