A 14-year-old girl from Gordon was due to have an operation yesterday after she was seriously injured by falling snow and ice last week.
Samantha Kinghorn was hit by snow and ice that slid off a roof at about 4pm last Thursday. She had been clearing a path around buldings at Middlethird Farm, near Gordon, with her dad Neil.
The Earlston High School pupil suffered spinal injuries and said she couldn’t feel her legs after the freak accident happened.
Samantha was taken to Borders General Hospital, before being taken by air ambulance to Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital on Friday morning, where she underwent emergency surgery amid fears she could be left paralysed below the waist.
Doctors said her condition was serious but stable. She was due to undergo further surgery yesterday (Wednesday, December 8). Her parents are at her bedside in Glasgow.
Michelle Strong, headteacher at Earlston High School, said: “The whole school community - staff, pupils and parents - has been shocked and saddened to hear about Samantha Kinghorn’s accident.
“Our thoughts are with Samantha and her family at this time and we are all hoping that she makes a full recovery following her treatment.”
Scottish Borders Council warned that the weight of snow from roofs can cause serious harm, and have issued safety warnings to the public following the incident.
A spokesperson said: “Increased temperatures are likely to cause snow on roofs to begin to shift. The low temperatures and high snowfall has caused snow to build up considerably on roofs.
“The weight of snow from roofs should not be underestimated; if it falls on those standing underneath it can cause serious harm.”
The council have released safety advice urging the public to keep clear of external perimeters of buildings and if possible to use alternative entrances if there is a danger of snow sliding from roofs or icicles, or gutters falling.
Borderers are also being warning about the dangers of roofs collapsing, with SBC urging the public to evacuate buildings where roofs show signs of sagging or stress from excessive snow, or to clear the roof.
A spokesman said: “Temporary structures and agricultural sheds are usually most at risk - Scottish Borders Council would therefore advise that the agricultural and business community inspect roofs on a regular basis.
“We would also stress that nobody should go onto roofs without carrying out a full risk assessment and without using the correct equipment.”
Agricultural sheds have collapsed under the weight of snow this week in Berwickshire and a council depot in Duns buckled under the weight of snow. The roof crashed down onto the SBC vehicles, leaving one wedged beneath the debris.
Stuart Thorburn of John Thorburn and Sons, Duns, who specialise in farm buildings, said they had received a number of calls from the Berwickshire area over the last week.
“We’ve had a few phone calls and I imagine we’ll get more,” he said. “There have been problems with some roofs and gutterings and things. It’s just the weather with the snow coming down and there was no wind so it just lay there. It’s not new and decent quality buildings that are coming down, the problems tend to be with older sheds and guttering.”
With extremely cold temperatures set to continue, Borderers are being encouraged to keep supporting their neighbours, especially those who are elderly or vulnerable. Given the continuing bad weather, and the forecast for particularly low temperatures over the weekend, Scottish Borders Council are urging people to check on their neighbours to ensure they are safe, that their heating is working and that they have any medication they need.
And despite what happened to Samantha, SBC said: “We are encouraging people and communities to continue with their efforts to clear snow from their houses and neighbourhoods. In particular it is important to clear snow from outside houses and to provide access gaps from roads to pavements. Snow piles should be placed in areas which do not cause obstructions.”