American pilgrim seriously injured in tragic backpack incident

An American pilgrim on the Camino de Santiago has been admitted to hospital in Burgos suffering from multiple injuries sustained when her backpack fell on her.

A hospital spokesperson described the woman as being in a critical but stable condition suffering from multiple broken bones, severe bruising, lesions and internal injuries typically seen in severe crush victims.

The spokesperson continues.

"Emergency services responded to a 112 call early on Monday morning to a pilgrim hostel in the vicinity of the village of Pesamucoho, province of Burgos. When they arrived on the scene they found the woman, an American citizen in her 40s, unresponsive and bleeding from mouth, nose and ears. The people at the scene reported that she had sustained her injuries when trying to lift her backpack. As far as we were able to ascertain an item of furniture she had been using as a prop broke and collapsed causing the full weight of her backpack to fall on her. As a result she lost her balance and fell with the backpack on top of her.This left her pinned to the ground and unable to move."

"Other pilgrims who came to her assistance had managed to free her and place her in the recovery position. They reported that she was breathing with difficulty and was incoherent. The albergue owner, Mr Juan de la Plata, alerted the emergency services. The injured party was treated at the scene and then removed to the provincial hospital in Burgos."

One of the witness at the scene, a bearded German pilgrim who gave his name only as Friz, takes up the story.

"Ya, I vas awakened, one of the vrust as usual in the albergue at 4am. I like to valk venn it is still very dark outside, that vay often I am losing my vay. I had just finished eating my muesli, I always have muesli in the morning, it is a good breakfast, Spanish breakfast just is not good for me, then I go to scheiss, also the muesli helps me with the scheiss, then my scheiss is perfect, this is very important. So, then, I came back to the room downstairs and the American voman was there also now, I know her already several days, always she is also getting up very early and leaving very early because she is valking very slowly because her mochila is very heavy. I say her 'Guten Morning'. She is amazing woman, I try one day her mochila to lift but I am not able, it is very heavy. She is the Camino hero."

Furniture malfunction

Urged to get to the point Friz continues.

"She was doing with her mochila the usual thing in the morning, she put it on the table using the knees and levering it into position, then she is positioning herself in front of it and putting the straps over her shoulders. It is all going vell, ya, then suddenly, when she is going to take the veight on the legs, the table he breaks and the mochila falls on her and she falls on her face with her mochila on top of her. I am horrified and I try to lift her mochila but it is too heavy, so I cry out for help and the other pilgrims come and help me to lift the mochila. We need five strong men to lift the mochila but in the end we manage it."

Friz continues, his voice breaking with emotion.

"Ya, we manage to lift the mochila off her. She remains lying on the ground, her legs are, how do you say crum? Ya, like not straight? OK, we try to help her stand up but she is screaming and calling us very bad names and saying her legs are broke so we leave her on the ground."

In the meantime the screaming from the kitchen has attracted the attention of Sr de la Plata. He takes up the story.

"I start hearing the screaming about 4am. Naturally, I think '[EXPLETIVE DELETED] crazy pilgrim' so I turn over and try to sleep again. But the screaming it continue and then about 5am when I am still not able to sleep I go down, I will tell them that they [EXPLETIVE DELETED] off and start walking like they are supposed, so my family and I can sleep. Anyway, in the kitchen, it is like [EXPLETIVE DELETED] war zone, I find this woman who is on the floor, she is screaming like mad dog, like bull when you put red hot metal on his balls in local fiestas, all of the pilgrims are there but she will not stop screaming. One of the pilgrims, a little crazy guy, he looks like maybe he is German, he tells me she had some kind of accident, I did not understand the detail, I take one look at her, she is on the floor, she is screaming and moving very strange, like a pig after you cut his throat, there is blood all over the floor, it is a real mess and someone will have to pay because we did big clean up job after this, anyway, I take one look and I call the ambulance. Then I go back to bed. We can clean up after all these [EXPLETIVE DELETED] pilgrims have [EXPLETIVE DELETED] off."

'serious but stable'

Upon arrival at Burgos hospital the pilgrim was immediately taken for emergency surgery. Her condition was described today as 'serious but stable'.

The Guardia Civil are understood to have carried out an investigation to establish if any foul play was involved. They refused to comment on the case besides confirming that they are satisfied that the incident was an 'unfortunate accident' and that the investigation is now closed.

One anonymous source close to the investigation agreed to give further details.

"This mad cow's backpack was nearly 80kg. The sergeant put his back out loading it into the jeep. He was pissed off. When we opened it we found a medical kit weighing about 20kg, all kinds of drugs, even a defibrillator, about 10kg of coffee from something called 'Starbucks', an espresso machine, not one of the cheap ones either, several solar panels, computers, ipads, arctic survival clothing, some kind of emergency alert system based on GPS, we set it off accidentally, flashing red lights, wailing sirens, one of the lads put a whole clip in it before it shut up, ten minutes later the American Embassy was on the phone threatening to bomb us back to the stone-age if we didn't rescue the old bird, I'm still sore from laughing."

Our anonymous source pauses to chuckle to himself at the memory, before adding.

"It was a real Aladdin's cave, Christmas is taken care of for the next three years, if not four!"

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