Page last updated at 08:16 GMT, Tuesday, 24 June 2008 09:16 UK

Double amputation for bridge girl

Jade Smethurst was trapped between the bridge and the canal bank

A 15-year-old girl has had both her legs amputated after they became trapped in a swing bridge she was sitting on in Greater Manchester.

Jade Smethurst, from Abbey Hey, Gorton, was with friends at the Yew Tree Swing Bridge on Buxton Lane, Droylsden, Tameside, when the accident happened.

It is thought she was dangling her legs over the edge when the bridge swung back, trapping her against the bank.

She had both legs removed below the knee following the accident on Friday.

The heavy steel bridge over the Ashton Canal is fixed at one end, opening like a gate, to allow barges to travel along the waterway.

Swing bridges are locked and can only be opened with a key, which is issued to boaters.

Buxton Lane Swing Bridge (Photo courtesy of MEN Syndication)
We are investigating the incident which we are treating as a tragic accident
GMP spokesman

It is unclear why the bridge was unlocked and an investigation is under way to discover if the bridge was left unlocked by a boat user or vandalised.

Friends of Jade, who is a Year 10 pupil at Wright Robinson Specialist College, are said to have pushed the bridge open to free her before the emergency services arrived.

She was treated at the scene by a specialist trauma medical team during the incident at about 2030 BST and was taken to Manchester Royal Infirmary where she underwent the emergency amputation.

She has since been transferred to Booth Hall Children's Hospital where her condition is described as "comfortable".

'Horrendous injuries'

Jade's mother, Wendy, said: "None of us is thinking straight at the moment. It is still a nightmare we are going through and it's still a blank.

"At the moment she is comfortable and we have not really spoken to her about it. I've not spoken to anybody properly about what happened.

"We'd like to thank the emergency services, the doctors and nurses at Manchester Royal Infirmary and Booth Hall and her loyal friends who helped."

British Waterways, the Greater Manchester Police and the Health and Safety Executive are investigating the accident.

A spokeswoman for the North West Ambulance Service said: "When paramedics arrived at the scene they found she had suffered horrendous injuries and a medical team was called.

"They gave her a lot of pain relief as she had traumatic fractures."

A police spokesman added: "We are investigating the incident which we are treating as a tragic accident."

A spokeswoman for British Waterways said: "We are conducting an investigation into the incident and cannot really comment until we know exactly what has happened."

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