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Lucky escape: van driver tells all

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By Fiona Reid
Lucky escape: van driver tells all

A WOMAN who had a miracle escape when her van crashed 500 feet down the Devil's Beeftub 15 years ago has been reflecting on the lifechanging experience.

DNG Media tracked down van driver Samantha McShane, who now lives in Biggar, after walkers found the remains of her Volkswagen Transporter and reported it to police last week.
And she’s not surprised it’s still there- after a quote for £20,000 to remove it.
Samantha, 40, said: “The insurance didn’t cover its removal or its replacement. A quote for removing the van was about £20k because of the marsh at the bottom and the steep sides. It was a choice of a helicopter to lift it out, or three cranes staged at points up the slope – so it just stayed there.”
She added: “I don’t mind if it’s removed or not. The environmentalist in me thinks it should be, but in reality it’s not practical. It’s really awkward to get to.”
Recalling that fateful night in February 2002 when she went off the edge of the A701, she said: “I came to lying half in, half out of the back of the van, and crawled away as soon as I could for fear of it exploding.
“I realised that if I didn’t climb out of the Beeftub myself I’d never get help, so I crawled up on all fours until I reached the road.”
She flagged down a passing lorry driver, who called 999: “The lorry driver must have had an awful fright seeing me wandering along an empty road in the dark. He pulled over and let me climb into his cab while he called an ambulance.”
Paramedics arrived and she was taken to hospital in Dumfries.
Gardener Samantha said: “I said I could just get in the ambulance, having climbed all the way out of the Beeftub, but they had to be careful in case I had any spinal damage.”
At the infirmary she was treated for cuts and bruises, including a large haematoma on her arm, and stayed in two nights, but said: “Really I was fine, so as my cuts had been stitched up I went home quite quickly.”
She has since returned to the Beeftub and said: “One time we parked up and had a look. We had to go over the fence and quite a way down before we could see the van.
“I felt a bit unsettled. I was extremely blessed not to have been badly hurt. I was knocked out, but I didn’t break any bones.
“It’s quite miraculous when you consider that in the back of the van were gardening tools including axes, spades, pruning saws, a chainsaw, and some loose weights for weight lifting.”
She has learned to live with her scars, joking that the one on her forehead is her Harry Potter mark, and added: “I think how glad I am to have survived so unscathed. There’s lots of complicated emotions caught up in the accident, but on the whole, I’m OK with it now.
“I truly think God has a plan for me; I’m still working out what that is, but I’m trying to help others whenever I can, through my church and volunteering.”
Full of praise for all who helped that night, Samantha added: “I’d like to thank the lorry driver who let me climb in his cab, it wasn’t a busy road; I could have been wandering for ages. And, I’d like to thank the paramedics, the accident and emergency department at Dumfries hospital, and the staff on the wards.”


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