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Surrey mayor breaks back in horse riding accident

Mayor Dianne Watts broke two vertebrae when she was thrown from a horse Saturday. - File
Mayor Dianne Watts broke two vertebrae when she was thrown from a horse Saturday.
— image credit: File

Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts broke two vertebrae during a horseback trail ride on Saturday.

Watts was vacationing with her family in Kamloops when the horse she was riding began to gallop. Watts was tossed up, and when she came back down in the saddle, she suffered a compression fracture of two vertebrae in her lower back.

Watts slumped off the horse, falling onto the rear of another horse and then to the ground.

She was airlifted to Royal Inland Hospital where she remains in stable condition.

A CT scan on the weekend indicated there was no nerve damage, however she continues to be in extreme pain. She was expected to undergo an MRI on Monday to see if there are neural pathways affected. If there are, surgery may be required to reduce any pressure.

As of Monday morning, her family was currently working to have her airlifted to another hospital.

Laura Ballance, speaking for the City of Surrey, said more will be known about Watts’ anticipated return to work after the diagnostic tests are complete.

Ballance said she has been taken aback by the widespread public reaction to the accident.

“I’ve had calls from all across the Canada,” Ballance said. “She is one of the one of the most loved politicians in the country.”

Acting Mayor Marvin Hunt said the system is set up to operate in her absence. He was expected to chair Monday's public meeting, which is the last one before council's summer break, which lasts until mid-September.

Up to date information on the mayor's status will be posted at www.surreyleader.com

@diakiw

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