PE woman found unconscious in valley ‘slowly improving’

IN HOSPITAL: Kathleen Flanagan was found by a volunteer search party in the Baakens Valley

Kathleen Flanagan, the Bay woman found unconscious at the bottom of the Baakens Valley, is slowly recovering,  her mother Gerda, who was able to hold her hand on Thursday morning, said.

Gerda said the generosity of spirit shown by Port Elizabeth residents who came out in their numbers to search for the 34-year-old was overwhelming.

Gerda said her daughter had tried to respond when she was eventually allowed to see her  and sit with her.

“It was our promise to each other that if either of us were in a coma we would sit with the other and talk to them,” Gerda said.

Flanagan, who suffers from retina pigmentosa (RP) and who has just 10% vision, was found alive but in critical condition at the bottom of the Baakens Valley on Wednesday afternoon.

Police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu said a volunteer search party went looking for Flanagan after she was last seen on Tuesday afternoon and was not answering calls.

No foul play was expected with Gerda saying as Flanagan was still not able to speak they were in the dark about what had happened to her but believed she may have tripped and fallen while on a run.

On Wednesday,  Gerda said Flanagan would, from time to time, run in the Walmer area in places she remembered from before her vision had deteriorated.

Gerda said, due to Covid-19 safety precautions, she was not allowed to see her daughter on Wednesday night but on Thursday, Flanagan’s doctor had agreed that it would be beneficial  for her to have her mother close.

On the search, Gerda said friends and family had gone out looking for Flanagan but what had blown her away was the number of strangers who had pitched in to help.

“I am so thankful and I cannot believe we were so blessed to have her found alive and untouched.

“Her condition is improving slowly.

“We are in awe of how people all over PE came together, offered help of any kind, left their offices to join search parties, those who prayed for her safe return to us,” she said.

She also commended police officers from the Walmer police station and paramedics as well as media outlets who reported on Flanagan’s disappearance.

“We thank God for them all. So often we have wondered how parents coped knowing their child or loved one was missing, often for days [or] weeks.

“Now we know. We are truly blessed to have her found so quickly and alive,” Gerda said.


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