AN IRISH student who suffered a devastating car crash while on a working holiday in America, has claimed that God spoke to him and helped him through the ordeal.
Padraig Rocliffe, a 27 year old University of Limerick student, was on a J1 working holiday visa in California in September 2016, when he decided to head off on a weekend road trip with friends.
While driving through Lake Tahoe, he was involved in a car crash that almost took his life.
The student spoke to Independent.ie about his ordeal: "We were driving through a place called Death Valley, ironically enough, when we burst a tyre.
"None of us really knew how to change a tyre but after about 25 minutes a man stopped and helped us.
"Within five minutes the driver lost control of the car and the new tyre burst, the car did a rollover, it fully flipped from left to right, it happened in the blink of an eye - three of my friends managed to jump out of the car but myself and the driver didn't.
"I tried to pull myself out of the window but I couldn't and that's when I knew something was seriously wrong."
Padraic, who is from Westport in Co Mayo, claims that just as he was coming to the realisation of what had happened, he was contacted by God.
"It sounds bizarre but God spoke to me, he told me to stay in the car, he told me to put my back up against the roof and to ask the girls to get a pillow and put it behind my head.
"None of us had phone coverage so we had to wait for someone to come and go to the nearest town to call an ambulance, it took around two hours but it felt like ten minutes.
"I had no feeling in my left side and I was terrified to try to moved my neck but God spoke to me again - he said, 'I've never let you down before and I won't now."
Padraic and the driver were brought by helicopter to a hospital in Las Vegas, Padraic had sustained a broken neck, back and foot, while his friend suffered some internal bruising.
He spent the next four weeks in hospital recovering and another three in a rehabilitation centre, before making an incredible recovery.
Padraic can now walk unaided and does physical therapy twice a week.
The contact with God has changed Padraic's life, so much so that he had an epiphany that he wanted to help others, and began helping the homeless.
He explained: "My family had stayed with me when the accident happened but they had to return home after a while so I had to spend Christmas in the States by myself.
"I was lonely without my family and friends but I knew it was where I had to be and it's only a day.
"I was going to a diner for lunch and I asked two homeless people if I could buy them lunch so I had some company.
"It turns out they were a mother and son who had been evicted and living in the sewers, I decided I would do something for the homeless this Christmas."
The incident was the start of Padraic's Shine a Line project, and he has been collecting donations such as sleeping bags, warms clothes, gloves, scarves and perishable foods at points in Dublin, Mayo and Limerick.
On Sunday himself and more than fifty volunteers will distribute the supplies to homeless people.