Cian Williams – 2012 Boat Propeller Accident in Wales
Cian Williams jumped off the front of the boat, swam to the back, and climbed back into the boat. Cian jumped off the front again and headed toward the back. The wake from Personal Watercraft (PWCs) was pushing the boat toward some rocks, the boat operator received a phone call, noticed the boat was drifting toward the rocks, and fired up the motor to move away from the rocks just as Cian was approaching the stern. Cian’s leg was struck by the propeller and he became entrapped on it. The operator had to raise the drive to free him. Cian saw his leg as he entered the boat and later said, “it was in a really bad way.” The boat operator raced him back to the harbor as his older brother used a towel to try to slow his bleeding.
Cian was brought to shore in Porthmadog, Gwynedd. An air ambulance was called and paramedics told the pilot to radio ahead and tell the hospital to prepare for an amputation. As the helicopter flew over before landing at Porthmadog, they could see blood flowing from the boat. Once on site, they were happy to see his leg was still attached. He was quickly bandaged up and life flighted to Ysbyty, Gwynedd, Bangor.
His leg was almost severed and required over 600 stitches in a four hour operation, but they were able to save his leg. Cian has since endured several more surgeries.
Since the accident, Cian and his mother have become among the leading advocates for boat propeller safety in the UK. Their Facebook presence, their petition to Put Cages on Boat Propellers, several media interviews, and coverage of Cian’s rescue on Helimeds have been among the leading voices calling for change. Cian also joined the voices of many others after the May 2013 Milligan accident at Padstow Harbor calling for propeller safety measures.
Cian Williams visited the paramedics that rescued him at the Air Ambulance base in Caernarfon Airport in November 2012.
In late November 2012, Cian returned to school. He was selected by his town to “flip the switch” to turn on the city of Portmadog’s Christmas lights at the annual ceremony. As to the lights, Cian said, “it’s the perfect way to round-off a pretty horrible year and look forward to the next.”
Before the accident, Cian’s favorite sport in school was rugby. He hopes to play again.
In May 2013, Cian Williams participated in the filming of a Helimeds ITV episode recreating his rescue. The episode, Helimeds 2013 Series 2 Episode 4, aired August 2, 2013.
To view the Helimeds re-enactment, select Episode 4. Cian’s story starts at about 11 minutes and 40 seconds on the timer, it runs to about 19 minutes and 50 seconds (for a total of about 8 and a half minutes). The Helimeds episode is very well done.