A toddler was left fighting for her life after being kicked in the head by horse while out on a walk with her dad.
Madison Roome was aged just two when the freak accident happened – which left her in hospital with life-threatening injuries.
The youngster had gone out with dad, Alistair, 46, big brother Finnley, four, and a few of their friends.
Bizarrely, nobody saw the split-second accident take place.
But medics said from the injuries sustained they could tell little Madi received the full force of the horse’s hoof to her tiny face.
She was kicked by a horse being led down a bridleway at the end of the family’s own road in Claygate, Surrey.
Alistair said: “I was seeing to Finn, he’d scraped his knee and it was bleeding, the next thing I heard was our friend shouting. ‘Madi’s been kicked’.
“I felt utter panic and that feeling of not knowing what to do.
“I heard those words I saw her face, the blood pouring from her eyes, her mouth and huge cut on her head lying there unconscious; it was just awful.”
He added: “It all happened in a split second, the next thing I heard was ‘I can’t feel a pulse’ when I was speaking to the 999 operators. It happened in a flash.
Madi’s mum, Jennifer, 36, explained: “We are so grateful that our friends were there that day. I was working from home that day when I got the phone call every parent dreads.
“I remember frantically running through the house grabbing everything I might need. Within five minutes I was by Madi’s side.”
Jennifer, who works in HR, described the moment she saw her little girl, bleeding and unconscious.
She said: “I was shocked when I first saw Madi’s facial injuries and the blood, but I knew that I had to remain calm for our baby girl.
“I cradled her in my arms, while we waited for help to arrive, she was wearing an Anna dress from the movie Frozen. That image will never leave me.
“She gained consciousness quickly, but the teams were concerned because she had such extensive injuries.”
Hero paramedics from the Air Ambulance Kent, Surrey and Sussex crew arrived within moments and bundled little Madi off to St George’s hospital in Tooting, south London.
Alistair, a web developer, said: “When we got into the helicopter and the rotary blades began, Madi began to scream, we thought it must be because of the vibrations hurting her face.
“The crew were amazing and once we had got her settled, she spent the rest of the flight looking out of the window.
“The flight was so quick, but I was willing it to get there. We circled Saint Georges hospital three times and then landed.”
Madi underwent emergency surgery on the day of her accident to stitch up a deep cut above her right eye and fix her pallet, which had split along the midline and separated from her skull.
Doctors stitched and secured an Invisalign brace in her mouth to help keep her bite and lining of her teeth in place.
Madi then underwent a second surgery eight days after being air-lifted to hospital, pinching together the tendons between her eyes and nose.
She then went on to have a third surgery just five weeks ago to remove bolsters and wires, and also to remove the Invisalign brace.
Docs also performed further surgery on her right eye after the freak accident last May.
Hero maxillofacial surgeons at St George’s plan to publish documentation of Madi’s procedure in a medical journal as it was such a unique and groundbreaking case.
Her dad said: “Madi still has a long road ahead and is likely to have many surgeries until her face is fully grown. But she’s still a really happy, resilient four-year-old and we’re so proud of her.
“It’s now been over a year since that horrific day, and I’m so pleased to say Madi is recovering really well.
“Her eye remains our main concern and Madi has had to get glasses recently.
“I don’t think Madi will remember much about the accident in the long-term, although she did very innocently ask if the Air Ambulance helicopter would be taking her home too!”
The family said they were “honoured” to meet the crew that cared for Madi at their airbase in Redhill.
Mum Jennifer said: “It was so emotional to be reunited with them. Myself and her dad were overcome with emotion, Madi bless her was just excited to see the helicopters.
“We got to meet the pilot and paramedic that were on the scene.”
The family are now fundraising for the incredible Air Ambulance crews, and want to raise awareness of Air Ambulance week, commencing on September 6.
Air Ambulance Week is the only week in the year dedicated to raising awareness and funds for the vital life saving work of air ambulance charities and is organised by Air Ambulances UK.
This year’s campaign shares the vital message that Every Second Counts and Every Penny Matters when saving the lives of people with a sudden life-threatening injury or medical emergency.