Episode 1 Close Calls: On Camera


Episode 1

Nick Knowles presents close calls caught on film. Two students on their way home from college witness a train explosion.


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Transcript


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A close call, a moment of danger when life can hang in the balance.

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I could die here, this is really serious.

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A split second where the outcome could go either way.

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Right, call 999 now.

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The difference between disaster and survival.

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You could see it on the faces of the crew how life-threatening this was.

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Why would you need to swim?

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Apparently, they're supposed to still be on a boat.

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These are the people that have been there and lived to tell the tale.

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I thought she had died.

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It's a day they'll never forget.

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The day they had a close call.

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Today on Close Calls,

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a dad with a pushchair,

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two women chatting

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and a car that's out of control.

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It was a very big noise,

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like I could understand straightaway accident, crash, boom.

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-And...

-Argh!

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..a snowboarder suffers a horrendous injury after a high-speed collision

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with a friend on the slopes.

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Neither were moving,

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he was in a heap on the floor a bit further down the mountain,

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he was screaming, "My knee, my knee!"

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HE SCREAMS

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Plus, two students heading home by train -

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they've just got off when this happens...

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James!

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Chorton-cum-Hardy, Manchester.

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A dad is wheeling his baby son along in his pushchair.

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I just suddenly saw a car

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barrelling towards me and towards Theo.

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The car's coming straight at them.

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He has only seconds to react.

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It keeps on going,

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heading for a pavement cafe

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where two women stand chatting.

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They're directly in its path.

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Chorlton-cum-Hardy, a leafy suburb

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four miles south-west of Manchester city centre.

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It's bustling with independent shops, cafes and bars,

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making it popular with young professionals and families.

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Chorlton is home to computer programmer Ludo.

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A Mancunian by birth,

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he lives in the suburb with wife Anna and their four children.

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It's a great honour to be a parent.

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I mean, it's a great joy.

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It's a lot of hard work,

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but there's nothing like having beautiful kids

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kind of smiling at you.

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Ludo often works from home and is a hands-on dad,

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particularly with the youngest child, two-year-old Theo.

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Theo, you know, is my only son.

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He's an absolutely fantastic little boy.

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Really, he means everything to me and Anna.

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Ludo enjoys the busy buzz

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of Chorlton's tearooms and coffee shops.

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He regularly passes by the Tutku Cafe, run by Vasil,

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who moved to the UK from Turkey a few years ago.

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I love the Chorlton customers,

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they are nice, polite,

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so I'm very happy I opened a cafe in Chorlton.

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The cafe's popularity meant Vasil needed an extra waitress.

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Step forward Hatice, who's lived in the area for 16 years

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and was looking for work after her youngest child started school.

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It's a good cafe.

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It's a very nice place to work

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because I like the work here.

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The regular people is good is why I like it.

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I don't know, they like me as well, I think so!

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Hatice has been in the job for just a week

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when, one autumn Monday morning, Ludo sets off in a bit of a hurry

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to drop Theo at a local childcare centre.

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They're running later than planned,

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but take their usual route along the main road.

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There we were, just after 11am,

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kind of coming up to 11:30am, going down Barlow Moor Road,

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which is one of the main thoroughfares

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through Chorlton and into Manchester.

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Although it's busy it's a pretty friendly place.

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We were just sort of trundling along.

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Ludo and Theo are nearing Vasil's cafe,

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which is quiet after the morning rush.

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It was 11:30am and I had five tables

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sitting in the cafe,

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and one table was sitting outside,

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he was eating breakfast.

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Hatice has been out delivering an order to a nearby business.

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Just as she's about to go back into the cafe, she spots a friend.

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The two women begin to chat.

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My friend, she sees me,

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when she was talking to me, she says, "Hello," and, "How are you?"

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We talk to each other like me and you.

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The cafe's outside CCTV cameras show their position,

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highlighted here.

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Hatice's friend, wearing a coat and carrying a bag,

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is nearest the camera and the cafe.

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Hatice is just out of view,

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in front of the row of parked cars.

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She notices Ludo, with baby Theo

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tucked up in his pushchair, approaching.

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That's Ludo in the hat,

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with Theo in the buggy facing his dad.

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The pram, you know, the man is coming.

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I give way, he's past.

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Ludo and little Theo are now in front of the estate agents

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next door to the cafe.

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It's at this point

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something attracts Ludo's attention.

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I just suddenly saw a car barrelling onto the pavement

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towards me and towards Theo,

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and at first I just thought that he wanted to park on the pavement.

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I knew it was going too fast and I thought it was going to stop.

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The two different angles from the CCTV

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show the terrifying moments that follow.

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The car mounts the pavement

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between the shops and the row of parked cars,

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heading straight for Ludo and Theo.

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Ludo reacts in record time.

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I just got out the way straightaway.

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I didn't think much about it at the time, I just did it.

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It all happened very quickly, really.

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The second I moved, the car just barrelled past me.

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As the car passes within a breath of the dad and toddler,

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it smashes into the large planters outside the estate agent,

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heading straight for Hatice and her friend.

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The noise is like a bang first,

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but I didn't see the car,

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I heard the noise.

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Then I see the car is coming - I don't know what's happened here.

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She has less than a second to react.

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I pushed my friend, you know,

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I take my friend and then I pushed myself back.

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The CCTV shows Hatice grabbing her friend

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and then falling to the ground as the car strikes her a glancing blow.

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I heard the women behind me exclaiming in distress

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as they jumped out the way as well.

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I think something hit me, I fell down.

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Then after I see the table coming in my leg.

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Inside the cafe, Vasil is busy behind the counter.

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But the sound of the drama outside stops him in his tracks.

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It was a very big noise,

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like I could understand straightaway

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accident, crash, boom.

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As the car comes to a stop,

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waitress Hatice struggles back to her feet

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and moves towards the cafe.

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Her friend and another bystander head over to the car.

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They find an elderly man unconscious behind the wheel

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and call for an ambulance.

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Although there'd been nobody in the street a second before,

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suddenly people ran out of the shops.

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There were broken plates on the floor.

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The fence had been knocked through 90 degrees.

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The big purple planters had been destroyed.

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There were broken tables and the car, of course,

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stuck in the middle of the pavement.

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Vasil joins the growing crowd,

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shocked to see the scene of devastation.

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The table was on the floor, everything's destroyed

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and then I couldn't believe it, I had a shock,

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I couldn't understand what's happened here.

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He finds Hatice amongst the debris.

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She told me she fell down. And then I said, "Are you OK?"

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She said, "Yeah, I am fine."

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OK, he said, "No, you are not OK, because you're like..."

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"Your face is... I know you're not OK."

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"Your colour is white. You should sit

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"and wait until ambulances come."

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Thanks to Ludo's extraordinary reactions,

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he and Theo are safe on the forecourt

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of the neighbouring estate agents,

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where staff take them in to look after them.

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Fortunately, because it was a parent-facing buggy,

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he didn't see the car coming.

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I wouldn't want him to have got frightened

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or have any sort of ongoing problems.

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I thought it would be a good idea just to sit down for 20 minutes

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and have a strong cup of tea.

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And I was very glad,

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when he started playing with the estate agents' computer -

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they let him sit at their computer desk

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and I realised that he was basically all right.

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But at the cafe, Hatice is in shock and, as she waits for the ambulance,

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she starts to register the pain in her feet, her knees and her hands.

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When they arrive, the ambulance team give her painkillers

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and take her to hospital.

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They said after four or six hours, and then when I go hospital,

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I come home as well and it's very bad,

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my husband take me, and my friend with me.

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Still I shake, they said,

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"You're not all right, see, we told you."

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Back at the cafe,

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Vasil plays the CCTV recordings of his forecourt

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and can't believe what he sees.

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I understand it was a very dangerous accident.

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Hatice was very lucky and also Ludo was very lucky,

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because both of them had a very quick reaction.

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Later, it's revealed the elderly male driver

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suffered an unavoidable medical episode at the wheel.

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Ludo has since been back to meet Vasil at his cafe.

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I was very happy to see him here and then I offered him,

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"Do you want me to give you that video?" Maybe he can keep it?

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And then I said to him, I make a joke, I said to him, "One day,

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"when your boy has grown up, you can show to him that video,

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" 'Look, your daddy's the hero, he saved you.' "

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For Ludo, it makes sobering viewing.

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Now I've had a look at sort of a high-res version of it,

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it's much closer than I realised at the time

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and when the police spoke to me afterwards,

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they said the same thing.

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Actually, the police officer who spoke to me

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said his toes were curling when he watched the footage.

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I did do it just in time, but...

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But I didn't realise how close it was.

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And mum-of-four Hatice is also very thankful

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she was able to react so quickly that morning.

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If the car had hit us, we will die, definitely.

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And Ludo's grateful his quick reactions saved his baby son.

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It just shows how important it is to make every day count.

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Flames shoot into the air, engulfing a train carriage.

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Two young students race to warn commuters.

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Get back! Get off the train!

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Kitzbuhel in the Austrian Alps.

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A snowboarder begins a downhill run, quickly accelerating.

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His eyes fixed on the snow ahead, he doesn't see what's coming.

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SCREAMING

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His screams echo around the mountainside.

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I knew there was something that was really wrong.

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The pain coming from my knee was just off the scale.

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The injury is catastrophic.

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If help doesn't come quickly, he could lose his leg.

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Firefighter Jed lives in Rochdale with his fiancee, Sharon.

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He's been in the Fire Service for more than 25 years,

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joining up as a lad of just 20.

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I've been a fireman in the back of the fire engine,

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which is the... As I would say, it's the sharp end,

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so every day for me is different,

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whether it's fires, rescues, helping people in the community.

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There's no groundhog in the Fire Service.

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Over the years, Jed's colleagues

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have become more than just workmates.

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It's definitely an extended family.

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But then, when the bells go down, you turn out,

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the feeling that you've helped someone is a great feeling.

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But the job can be stressful and Jed makes sure he finds time to unwind.

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Do you want to do my bike?

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I can do yours, if you want.

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His relaxation method of choice has always been adrenaline sports.

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The best way of de-stressing myself is taking me completely away.

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Whether jumping on a bike or snowboard or motocross bike,

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it's very involving, so your mind can't wander anywhere else.

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Many of his friends share his passions and, twice a year,

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Jed and a group of his mates from work go snowboarding.

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Close pal Pete has shared many of these fun trips.

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Going snowboarding is fantastic.

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You save up all year and it's one of your treats for the year

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and, as soon as you're there, you can't wait to hit the slopes.

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I just like that absolute freedom of it.

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You know, getting a bit of adrenaline by going off-piste

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makes it all the more fun.

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On a winter break in the Austrian Alps,

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Jed and Pete are looking forward

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to their first morning snowboarding off-piste.

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It's a bright, sunny day.

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This is Jed's footage, filmed using a head cam,

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as they traverse the slopes.

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I've always been into taking video of stuff

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and you're always hoping to capture

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that comical event where something happens.

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HE LAUGHS

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After lunch, they join the rest of their group,

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who've been skiing nearby.

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The skiers and boarders decide to tackle some slopes together.

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I was really looking forward to this holiday.

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The snow is, like, nice and fresh.

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I made a point of saying,

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"I've had a few injuries in the past few years,

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"it's definitely not my turn this year.

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"Let's make it a good holiday."

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At the top of a wide run, the friends begin their descent,

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with Jed still filming.

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They agreed to meet up at the head of a more testing off-piste slope.

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After a short while, they regroup by the tricky run.

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It's steep and covered in several feet of powdery snow.

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Jed plans his descent.

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His camera captures one of his friends

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moving further along a ridge, but he doesn't notice.

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His pal is intending to tackle the run from a different angle.

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They set off at the same time.

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Neither are aware they're on a collision course.

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They quickly gather speed,

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both totally focused on the tempting fresh snow in front of them.

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I could see Jed working his way down, picking up speed.

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I could see the powder coming off the back of him.

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But Pete doesn't spot the danger either.

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Jed and his friend are now hurtling directly towards each other.

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By the time they realise, it's way too late.

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I just had literally a blinking of an eye

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and I had to just lean to the right and we hit.

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Jed's camera captures the moment of impact...

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HE SCREAMS

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..and records his screams.

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The two men collide at a combined speed of 50mph.

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Jed catapults headfirst into the snow,

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but it's his leg that takes the full force.

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The pain coming through my knee was absolutely excruciating

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and I've experienced a lot of pain in my life.

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I've had quite a lot of injuries and whatever else.

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The other skier is uninjured,

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but Jed's in terrible pain and struggling to breathe.

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I was upside down, buried right up to my knees.

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He's in agony, but he needs to pull himself out of the snow.

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His friends can tell it's serious.

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He's screaming, "My knee, my knee!"

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And it was a piercing scream, you know.

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It's just so unlike him.

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It's out of character for him to moan like that.

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When they reach him, it's clear his knee is badly dislocated.

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He pulls his ski trousers up to reveal the damage.

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Look at my knee.

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-Oh,

-BLEEP!

-Oh,

-BLEEP!

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A large bulge on the inside of his knee is clearly visible.

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It's an extreme and excruciating dislocation.

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Jed's desperate for the pain to stop.

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I started thinking, strangely, about Lethal Weapon,

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about when he puts his shoulder in,

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and I knew it were dislocated, so I actually started saying to them,

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"Can you not just pull my leg in?"

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We do first aid at work. We deal with casualties a lot.

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But to see a knee joint so far out,

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and as soon as you touch it, and he's screaming like that,

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it was a no-go from the start.

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One of the group alerts staff at a nearby ski lift.

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They call in a rescue team.

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As they wait for help, Jed begins to shiver.

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I was shaking a lot, I think through shock,

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so they put a jacket, an extra jacket around me.

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Obviously, we had nothing to take the pain away,

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so they were just trying to sort of take my mind off it, really,

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as much as they could.

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It's 45 painful minutes before an air ambulance appears.

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One of Jed's pals is filming.

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It couldn't land because it was a 45-degree slope and so deep,

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there was no way it was landing,

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so he had to go and land on the piste below.

0:19:190:19:22

The medics need to reach Jed quickly,

0:19:220:19:24

so the female doctor and an assistant are then dangled on a rope

0:19:240:19:29

and flown up the slope towards him.

0:19:290:19:31

The first thing she did was to actually try and relocate his knee.

0:19:310:19:35

As soon as she touched it, Jed began screaming...

0:19:350:19:38

HE SCREAMS

0:19:380:19:40

It was echoing around the valley,

0:19:400:19:41

and I would scream again and pass out again.

0:19:410:19:44

The doctor gives Jed morphine to help alleviate the pain.

0:19:440:19:48

She knows it's vital to get his knee back into position.

0:19:480:19:51

Jed's own training means he knows

0:19:520:19:54

the seriousness of the situation too.

0:19:540:19:57

Sometimes your leg gets that badly damaged

0:19:570:19:59

because of no blood supply that you lose the bottom of your leg.

0:19:590:20:01

I knew that it had to go back in place, sooner rather than later.

0:20:020:20:06

The doctor tries once more to pull Jed's knee back into its socket.

0:20:060:20:11

The pain came back instantly and then I passed out.

0:20:110:20:14

So they decided that they were going to stick me on the stretcher.

0:20:150:20:19

They're unable to treat the injury on the slope,

0:20:190:20:21

so the decision is taken to rush Jed to hospital for emergency surgery.

0:20:210:20:26

He's in and out of consciousness as he is strapped to the stretcher,

0:20:260:20:31

but the movement, miraculously, shifts his knee.

0:20:310:20:34

My leg just popped back into place by itself.

0:20:340:20:37

What a clunk and what a horrible bone-on-bone kind of sound.

0:20:370:20:41

It was... Yeah, it was horrible.

0:20:410:20:43

It's a huge relief for Jed's friends

0:20:450:20:47

as they watch the helicopter take him down the mountain

0:20:470:20:50

to the local hospital.

0:20:500:20:52

There, doctors put his leg in an open cast

0:20:520:20:55

and tell him he'll need more treatment back home.

0:20:550:20:58

It's the end of Jed's holiday.

0:20:580:21:00

A week later, back home in Rochdale,

0:21:020:21:04

a consultant surgeon gives Jed the news he has been dreading.

0:21:040:21:08

He said that this is in the top three worst injuries

0:21:090:21:12

he's ever seen in 30-odd years of surgery of knees and he said,

0:21:120:21:16

"Be prepared that you're not going to be a fireman any more."

0:21:160:21:20

It's not something Jed's prepared to even consider,

0:21:210:21:24

and he takes on the challenge to stay a firefighter.

0:21:240:21:28

I thought, "I'm definitely going to go back to work," you know,

0:21:280:21:31

because, you know, that's what puts food on the table, so...

0:21:310:21:34

And it's something I love.

0:21:340:21:36

So I was going to move hell and earth to do it.

0:21:360:21:39

He undergoes major surgery on his knee,

0:21:400:21:43

followed by months of intense rehabilitation.

0:21:430:21:46

He surprised us all, really, with the recovery.

0:21:460:21:49

He's gone from strength to strength.

0:21:490:21:51

He's not one that you can keep down for long.

0:21:510:21:54

It takes two years until Jed's back on Blue Watch with his mates.

0:21:540:21:58

And, despite the long fight back to fitness,

0:21:590:22:02

he considers himself very lucky.

0:22:020:22:04

If we were a couple of centimetres either way,

0:22:060:22:08

our heads would have hit and at 50mph, even with helmets...

0:22:080:22:12

HE PUFFS

0:22:120:22:13

..life - over.

0:22:130:22:16

So it was very, very close that day.

0:22:160:22:19

Ouch! That looked like a very nasty injury.

0:22:300:22:34

Now, a tale of two lads commuting home from college

0:22:340:22:37

when they get a very nasty shock, almost literally.

0:22:370:22:39

Dorchester, Dorset.

0:22:460:22:48

A busy commuter train is about to leave the station when this happens.

0:22:480:22:53

SPARKS WHOOSH

0:22:530:22:55

A horrified passenger who left the train only moments before

0:22:550:22:59

films with a mobile phone.

0:22:590:23:01

It all just went mental.

0:23:010:23:02

There was loads of sparks, loads of noise, loads of smoke.

0:23:020:23:05

Everyone's screaming. And it kind of all just went, like, ballistic.

0:23:050:23:09

17-year-old students Miles and Callum

0:23:150:23:18

have been friends for a couple of years.

0:23:180:23:21

They both attend college in Weymouth.

0:23:210:23:23

They regularly travel back and forth together

0:23:230:23:25

and often hang out when lectures are over for the day.

0:23:250:23:28

The autumn term has started,

0:23:310:23:33

and Miles and Callum are about to take the train back to Dorchester,

0:23:330:23:36

where Miles lives.

0:23:360:23:38

It got to about six o'clock and I wanted to go home,

0:23:390:23:41

so I went and waited for the train, jumped on it with Callum.

0:23:410:23:44

It was the normal train ride -

0:23:440:23:46

like, nothing extraordinary, like, I was just chilling.

0:23:460:23:49

At Dorchester, they get off the busy commuter train.

0:23:490:23:53

Seconds later, Miles realises he's left his bike on board.

0:23:530:23:57

And I ran back, and as the doors were shutting,

0:23:570:23:59

I managed to get my bike off.

0:23:590:24:00

But as Miles catches up with Callum, they're stopped in their tracks.

0:24:000:24:04

Say, 20 seconds from me getting off the train

0:24:040:24:06

and, like, barely even being clear of the platform,

0:24:060:24:08

I was only just down to road level,

0:24:080:24:10

and then it all just went, like, absolute mayhem.

0:24:100:24:12

SPARKS WHOOSH

0:24:120:24:14

First thing I heard was a real loud bang.

0:24:140:24:17

Kind of like a gunshot, but more like an impact.

0:24:170:24:20

We turn around, we look and we see it's the train,

0:24:200:24:23

our carriage that we was in, just sparking.

0:24:230:24:27

The sky was lighting up, it looked like a firework display,

0:24:270:24:30

but from underneath the train.

0:24:300:24:31

And then I heard another loud bang, and I kind of thought, like,

0:24:330:24:35

"No-one's going to believe this,"

0:24:350:24:37

so I just whipped out my phone, started videoing.

0:24:370:24:40

Miles jumps on his bike with his camera on his phone,

0:24:420:24:45

rides towards, recording it.

0:24:450:24:47

I'm walking behind Miles, trying to catch up to him.

0:24:490:24:52

The boys are worried about passengers still on the train.

0:24:520:24:55

GET OFF THE TRAIN!

0:24:550:24:56

You could just see the train going off, and big explosions.

0:24:560:25:01

Miles captures the chaos on his phone.

0:25:020:25:05

No-one seems to know what's happening.

0:25:050:25:07

Everyone started screaming.

0:25:070:25:09

As I kind of get closer, it's sparking and sparking and sparking,

0:25:090:25:12

and then the flames come out from under the train.

0:25:120:25:15

ELECTRICITY BUZZES AND CRACKLES

0:25:150:25:19

I got a bit closer, you could kind of feel the heat of it as well.

0:25:190:25:22

And it was getting, like... I kept feeling the heat push against me.

0:25:220:25:25

The explosions send flames leaping more than 20 feet into the air.

0:25:260:25:31

The boys aren't sure if there are any passengers

0:25:310:25:33

in the affected carriages.

0:25:330:25:36

And I got within, say, like, 10, 15 metres of the railing,

0:25:360:25:39

and it was hurting my eyes to stand there, like,

0:25:390:25:41

I couldn't look at it any more.

0:25:410:25:42

Wasn't really thinking about my safety, to be honest,

0:25:420:25:45

all I wanted to do was make sure everyone else was safe,

0:25:450:25:47

kind of get them off that train.

0:25:470:25:48

But Callum is worried his friend is getting too close.

0:25:480:25:51

And I thought, obviously, if that train goes up, he will get hurt.

0:25:510:25:56

So, I had to run and shout, "Miles, get back!"

0:25:560:25:59

GET BACK!

0:25:590:26:01

SCREAMING

0:26:010:26:02

Miles pulls back,

0:26:020:26:04

but many of the passengers still have no idea what's happening.

0:26:040:26:07

They just sat there, they didn't move.

0:26:070:26:09

Miles is shouting, "Get off the train, get off the train!"

0:26:110:26:14

And then, as I've stepped back, it all just went mental.

0:26:140:26:17

-Jeez!

-ROARING

0:26:170:26:20

Everyone's screaming, and it kind of all just went, like, ballistic.

0:26:200:26:23

Like, no-one knew what to do.

0:26:230:26:25

People were shouting, "Get off, get off!"

0:26:270:26:30

Passengers begin to leave from coaches further along the platform.

0:26:300:26:33

The boys are stunned by how unruffled some of them seem.

0:26:330:26:37

GET OFF THE TRAIN!

0:26:460:26:48

Miles and Callum tell a railway official what they've just seen.

0:26:480:26:52

I showed him the video of what had happened,

0:26:520:26:54

and he kind of was like, "Oh, God," he went on the radio,

0:26:540:26:57

and then I think someone called the emergency services.

0:26:570:27:01

He then took control of the situation.

0:27:010:27:02

And he was kind of just making sure everyone was all right

0:27:020:27:05

and, like, there was not much panic any more, so I kind of just...

0:27:050:27:07

He shook my hand and then I kind of just went home.

0:27:070:27:10

Some hours later, the boys learn the explosions

0:27:130:27:16

were the result of electrical arcing underneath the train.

0:27:160:27:20

South West Trains said a problem was identified with the equipment

0:27:200:27:23

delivering electricity to the third rail, which powers the trains.

0:27:230:27:28

Carriages were damaged, but no-one was injured.

0:27:280:27:30

Back home, Miles and Callum begin to realise

0:27:340:27:36

what a lucky escape everyone had.

0:27:360:27:39

Thank God that Miles got his bike in time

0:27:390:27:41

and we got off the platform in time.

0:27:410:27:44

If we stayed on that train any longer,

0:27:440:27:46

we could have been next to our carriage while it went up.

0:27:460:27:51

Just saying, it was complete luck that I did get off.

0:27:510:27:53

Real close call. Kind of put me off travelling on trains for a while.

0:27:530:27:57

I get the bus to college, to Weymouth, from now on, like.

0:27:570:28:01

Jeez!

0:28:010:28:02

Well, that certainly livened up the journey home!

0:28:090:28:12

See you next time on Close Calls.

0:28:120:28:13

A dad wheeling his son to playgroup and a waitress chatting outside a cafe must take evasive action as an out-of-control car careers onto the pavement.

An off-duty firefighter has a collision on the ski slopes, and two students on their way home from college witness a train explosion.