A mum hit by a train at Chartham station faces a “long road” to recovery after breaking nearly every bone in her body, her family says.
Ella Akehurst, 38, was seriously injured in a tragedy which claimed the life of her friend, Dr David Ashworth, as he tried to rescue her from the tracks.
It has emerged the 74-year-old had taken Miss Akehurst to see her GP in the village just minutes before they were both struck by the train last Tuesday.
Dr Ashworth was killed instantly and Ella was airlifted to King’s College Hospital, London, where she remains in a serious condition.
“She broke almost every bone in her body – it’s a miracle she’s still alive" - Ella's brother, Luke Akehurst
Speaking this week, her brother Luke Akehurst, 43, said: “She broke almost every bone in her body – it’s a miracle she’s still alive.
“She faces more surgery and her condition is still serious, but stable. There’s going to be a long road ahead for her.”
Mr Akehurst says Dr Ashworth had taken Miss Akehurst to the village doctor’s surgery for an appointment on the morning of the tragedy.
He said: “Ella had suffered with mental health problems and clinical depression for some years.
“David, who was a close and dear family friend for many years, kindly offered to go to her doctor’s with her that morning.
“But as they left the surgery, she ran down the road towards the station.
“David got in his car and followed her, guessing what might happen. It was incredibly brave of him.”
Miss Akehurst was seen to jump from a footbridge onto the tracks as a London-bound through train approached.
Dr Ashworth, a retired University of Kent academic from Rowan Close, Sturry, jumped down to try to pull her clear but was hit as he tried to escape the oncoming train.
Mr Akehurst, who lives in Oxford and works as a Labour party campaigner, said Ella was left “incredibly distressed” when told of Dr Ashworth’s death.
He added: “We are devastated by David’s death. He was a very close family friend for three decades who offered to help Ella.
“He was a kind, caring and totally selfless person who lost his life heroically saving Ella’s.
“As a family we have been overwhelmed by the support we have been shown by the village and would just like to thank everyone for their kindness.
“We are also giving Ella’s six-year-old son all the support we can at this difficult time.”
Shortly after the tragedy, Dr Ashworth’s family issued a statement saying they were proud of his heroic actions but devastated at the loss of his life.
British Transport Police say there are no suspicious circumstances and the case is being passed to the coroner for investigation and a future inquest.
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