A British holidaymaker is lucky to be alive after being thrown over an 870ft cliff in a crash.
Bryony Fitzpatrick was flung from an open-top Land Rover on a safari tour after it slewed off the road, hit a tree and her seatbelt popped open.
Miraculously, trees broke her terrifying fall on to rocks but others on the trip in Turkey were convinced she was dead.
The 21-year-old lay in agony, terrified she had broken her back, but managed to summon enough energy to scream for help, which only arrived two hours later.
The shop worker suffered internal bleeding from chest injuries and spent four days in a intensive care unit in Turkey.
Bryony, still black and blue from her near-death experience on April 10, is recovering at her home in Brigg, North Lincolnshire, where she lives with her mum, Sian, 54.
But she is still haunted by how her week-long sunshine break in Izmir with boyfriend Jamie Ingledew, 21, and his family, ended in horror.
She told the Sunday People: “I was excited for the holiday of my dreams with my boyfriend, but instead it descended into a nightmare.
“I have a clear memory of being flung out of the 4×4. I felt my body in free fall and was certain that when I hit the bottom I would be dead.
“It was the most terrifying experiences of my life, and I’m lucky to be alive.”
Bryony, Jamie and his family were six of the eight tourists in the back of the Land Rover on the £20-a-head day trip in the mountains around the resort.
Bryony is convinced the driver was texting on his phone when he lost control.
Even though using a phone while driving is illegal in Turkey, authorities investigating the crash have said no more legal action would be taken.
She said: “When I look at photos of my injuries I feel overwhelmed with anger.
“I can’t believe that it took so long for help to get to me and no one is being held accountable for what happened. Turkey is popular among Brits but I would never go back.”
Bryony had been eagerly anticipating her first holiday with Jamie, who she has been dating for nearly two years.
She said: “I couldn’t wait for a romantic trip away with him lounging on the beach and exploring Turkey.
“As soon as we got there I started looking at all the activities we could do together.”
She booked the jeep trip with Regal Tours – a company which organises tours for their hotel, the five-star Surmeli Efes.
Bryony said: “I’d been on a similar safari along the Turkish cliffs a few years before.
“I was really excited about going again.
“I booked it for 9am on the second day as I wanted to spend some time outside of the hotel.
“But when I was shown to the open-top vehicle I started to worry it wasn’t very safe.
“It looked about ten years old and didn’t feel very solid at all. The suspension was awful and it didn’t feel to me a very stable car to be taking people on a tour in.”
But Bryony ignored her fears and climbed into the Land Rover – which seated eight people facing each other on benches and roof bars. The driver sat in the front with two Turkish passengers. “When we started I was worrying as the dashboard kept saying we had no fuel,” she recalled. “I was hoping we’d run out and have to turn back as I didn’t feel safe.
“But when we ascended the mountains in perfect sunshine the views over the cliffs were amazing. I didn’t complain.”
But 20 minutes into the journey, Bryony said she saw the driver texting on his phone.
“I couldn’t believe it. I was about to say something when suddenly, driving around a bend at 15mph, he lost control of the vehicle.”
It skidded, flipped on to its side and rolled down a hill, spilling out most of its passengers, whose seatbelts had broken, before hitting a tree.
Jamie was thrown out but escaped injury and helped his dad Darren, 42, who suffered a broken rib, from the wreck.
Jamie’s mum, Marianne, 39, broke her shoulder, his two brothers – Tyler, 14, and Joshua, eight – would need stitches.
But Bryony was hurled over the 869ft (265m) cliff by the force of the crash. She said: “I felt myself free-falling but I blacked out with the shock.
“When I opened my eyes on the ground I was lying in excruciating pain.”
“I was at the bottom of the mountain, I thought I was going to bleed to death.
“I was covered in cuts and scratches, and my whole body was in agony. I didn’t know how bad my injuries were and I was terrified I’d broken my back.”
The driver, who was largely unhurt, looked into the valley and told his stunned passengers that Bryony was surely “dead”. It was only when they heard her screams for help that a rescue operation was launched.
Bryony said: “I’m just glad I managed to find the strength to shout. If I hadn’t everyone would have presumed I was dead.”
It took two hours before help finally arrived and she was carried up the cliff by a group of Turkish locals on stretcher, before being rushed to hospital in an ambulance.
Bryony was kept in intensive care for four days as doctors battled to stop the internal bleeding caused by the impact.
Doctors said it was a miracle she had survived and believed the trees had saved her life.
Bryony and Jamie’s family are desperate to seek justice for what they believe was gross negligence by the driver.
They are also making an insurance claim to compensate them for their injuries and the ruined holiday.
Bryony said: “It was supposed to be a dream holiday with my boyfriend but it turned into the holiday from hell.
“I can’t believe the driver would risk using his phone, especially while in charge of 10 passengers’ safety.
“It’s outrageous. I’d never go on a jeep safari again, and I’m certainly not going back to Turkey. I still have horrific bruises and breathing problems because of the impact to my chest.’
A Turkish Culture and Tourism Office spokesman said they were aware of the incident but declined to make an official statement.
Surmeli Hotels and Regal Tours were both contacted by the Sunday People, but neither were available for comment.