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A close call - a moment of danger when life can hang in the balance...
I could die here. This is really serious.
..a split second where the outcome could go either way...
-Call 999 now.
-..the difference between disaster and survival.
You could see it on the faces of the crew how life-threatening this was.
Why would you need to swim? Apparently, they were supposed to still be on a boat.
These are people that have been there and lived to tell the tale.
I thought she had died.
It's a day they'll never forget.
The day they had a close call.
Today on Close Calls...
..an amateur racing driver on a qualifying lap takes a corner at more than 100mph.
His brakes fail, the car somersaults.
He's left hanging out of the window, his head inches from the ground.
It happened really quickly. You just saw gravel and car, gravel, car.
Minutes later, the driver's wife arrives to watch him race.
I walked down and I saw his car. It was awful.
And a baby is desperately ill.
Her mum makes a distressing call to the emergency services.
Seven-month-old Sophia and her family need urgent help now.
Also today, passengers on a moving bus realise the driver isn't on board.
It was gradually getting faster as it was going along,
and the driver wasn't fast enough to actually get back on through the door.
A racetrack near Swanley, Kent.
A driver spins out of control,
smashing into the fence separating the cars from the crowd.
Shots taken by a track-side photographer show the driver's head just inches
from the ground as the car somersaults.
It begins to disintegrate with bits of bonnet,
bumpers and exhaust flying off in all directions,
leaving the driver helpless.
Printing business owner Andrew is also a part-time racing driver.
I really love the racing because it's not just going out there and seeing
how fast you can be. Everyone is on the same power,
everyone's got the same brakes, same weight.
It's more about driver ability rather than who's got the biggest engine,
which I think it... Makes it more interesting to watch and
He's only been racing for a couple of years, but he's already tasted success.
I had a podium,
got third place and I got driver of the weekend as well,
so that was good progress.
However, Andrew hasn't always been so keen to get behind the wheel.
It wasn't until he started dating school sweetheart Sarah that he found the need for a car.
I think she just wanted a boyfriend that drove.
I was interested in a boyfriend that could take me out on dates,
to the cinema, bowling.
She sort of persuaded me into getting some driving lessons
and, yeah, it went from there.
Passed my driving test and realised I really do love driving.
He reckons it's one of the best decisions ever.
Sarah is now his wife and they have four young children.
He's an amazing husband, he's very supportive.
He takes very good care of us all.
He's a great dad, yeah.
We're a happy little family, I'd say.
It's a sunny summer's day and Andrew is competing in
his silver Alfa Romeo.
At 9am, he sets off around the circuit for a few practice laps.
The car felt fine.
Managed to get my lap times down a bit more, which was good.
Sarah and the children are planning to come and see the race later in
-I got up quite early.
Andrew headed off before us.
The kids and I headed off in the car and we got stuck in traffic for about
45 minutes to an hour.
While Sarah sits in a traffic jam,
Andrew's flying round the circuit on his qualifying lap.
It's whoever goes fastest, and then it goes from pole all the way down to last place, basically.
Documenting the various different races today is professional photographer Patrick Cranham.
He's been a motor racing fan since he was a child,
and now combines his passion with his job.
I primarily take pictures of motorsport,
specialising in the British touring cars but also covering other events.
Patrick is already snapping away as Andrew records
some pretty decent times out on the track.
Everything was going smoothly. The car felt great.
But then, on his seventh lap, travelling at around 100mph,
he is about to hit a bend.
He starts to brake, but there's a problem.
When I broke, I literally had no brakes whatsoever.
The feeling, to best describe it, I would say...
It's like someone took my brake pads out and put ice in there.
So I still had pressure on the brake pedal, but nothing was happening.
It just kept going.
He clips another racer, sending his own car into a violent roll.
A spectator captures it on his phone.
The first roll, it just seemed to go into slow motion because I think
I was going so fast that it took a long time to complete the first roll.
And I just remember saying to myself, "OK, so we're going upside down now."
Photographer Patrick is positioned on the first corner of the circuit.
Andrew's car is right in his viewfinder.
He captures this spectacular series of stills.
Because of the violent impact of the crash, it actually happened
really quickly, because as soon as he hit the gravel you just saw gravel and car,
The car kept rolling and I kept thinking to myself, you know,
"It's going to come to a stop eventually."
But it doesn't. It keeps spinning.
After about three rolls, I was saying to myself, "OK,
"I'd like this to stop rolling now," cos it just seemed to go on forever.
In the driver's seat, Andrew is encased in a safety roll cage which should
protect him. But something goes wrong.
My seat caved in to the right,
which actually pushed my head towards the window.
Patrick's shots show the moment Andrew's head is forced out of the smashed window.
The car is still rolling.
His head is just centimetres from being crushed.
The car begins to disintegrate, then pirouettes.
The car has nosedived and then has come around and then I've gone upside down
into the side netting.
As he hits the barrier, Andrew's head is still hang out of the window.
Horrified spectators can only watch an as the car smashes into
the tyre wall, catapulting into the air.
Then its momentum is slowed by the 20-foot-high reinforced safety fence.
The car drops to the ground.
Luckily, I landed flat rather than upside down.
-That was handy.
-Smoke billows from the engine.
The crowd look on, desperately hoping to see signs of life.
Marshals rush over to the car as an ambulance and medic arrive.
But there's still no sign of movement from Andrew.
It's natural after seeing a crash of that magnitude that the driver isn't
going to walk away, and I was waiting to see if Andrew got out the car.
Suddenly, a figure emerges from the tangled wreckage.
Spectators applaud as he walks away.
First thing, just hearing the crowd cheering, and that's
obviously a bit uplifting especially after this, so I did a little
fist pump in the air.
Photographer Patrick is amazed.
Definitely did not think he would just be able to walk away.
When the paramedics came over, I at least expected him to be stretchered away.
Andrew's immediately taken by ambulance to the on-site medical centre,
checked over by paramedics and given the all-clear.
His most serious injury is a sprained ankle.
The crash was such a big crash,
I think everyone was shocked to see that I've managed to just get out the car
and walk away, basically.
Sarah and the children arrive at the track looking forward to watching
Andrew race. But the first thing they see is the mangled wreck of his Alfa Romeo.
I walked down and I saw his car on the back of his trailer and I was absolutely gobsmacked.
The car was in an awful...
I couldn't have imagined...
It was awful.
After the crash, everything just seemed quite fuzzy, like, still,
I couldn't really take it in.
I felt quite emotional. I couldn't speak at the time.
Sarah looks frantically around for her husband, then sees him limping
-He was trying to hold it together.
He looked very emotional.
I just looked at him and said, "I'm just so glad that we've enjoyed our
"life as much as we have because I could have become a widow,
"with four young children."
When Patrick examines his images, he realises what an extraordinary escape Andrew has had.
There's one picture in particular where his head is very close to the ground.
Had his head actually scraped the ground,
it's not worth thinking about what could have happened.
Although Andrew walked away from the horrendous crash,
it still had an impact on the family.
Andrew seems to enjoy the children more, the special little moments.
We're making the most of those.
Because you never know when it's going to end.
But racing is part of the couple's life and Andrew's now back behind
the wheel with Sarah's full support.
However, he hasn't forgotten what a close call he had that day.
If the car had actually rolled the other way, I think there would have been more of a
chance of my head contacting the floor.
There is definitely someone upstairs watching me.
It could have definitely went a different way that day.
Coming up, a driver leaps from her car when she spots a runaway bus.
I ran along the side of the bus, stopping the traffic,
and my heart was pounding.
I just couldn't believe it.
Speke, Liverpool. A 999 call has just come through to the emergency services.
It's a mother in panic.
Seven-month-old Sophia is slipping in and out of consciousness,
and a purple rash is developing on her body.
An ambulance is racing to the scene,
but baby Sophia's condition is deteriorating.
She started to close her eyes.
She was getting very floppy and that was it then.
The ambulance can't come quick enough.
Full-time mum Sarah and her partner Andy dote on baby daughter Sophia.
'I can still remember the feeling when I first had her.'
They say there's an overwhelming rush of love and it's just so hard to describe.
The minute I had her, it was like everything fell into place.
She's my whole world. She's my whole life.
'She's really bubbly. Very, very lively.'
The two of us are just devoted to her.
We'd do anything for her.
But one day, when their baby girl suddenly faces a life and death situation,
both parents feel helpless to save her.
It's a Saturday morning in December, a couple of weeks before Christmas.
The family has just woken up.
Mum Sarah leans over to check on her daughter.
She didn't smile so straightaway I was like, "OK,
"I know that she is not well."
I felt her. She had a temperature.
She was making a raspy breathing noise.
Thinking Sophia is simply suffering from a heavy cold,
Sarah carries on as normal, but her concern grows when she starts to change
her daughter's clothes.
She had a red little pinprick rash all over her legs - could be a heat rash,
could be a sweat rash.
The young mum continues to undress her baby, then she spots something
potentially much more sinister.
I just heard a scream.
I went running back into the bedroom and she had the baby's babygrow off
and you could just see the baby's stomach
and she had a really big spot like a scab in the middle of her belly.
She had a purple blotch on her chest.
There was only one or two blotches, but there was this one big purple one.
Sophia is showing all the signs of meningitis,
a potentially fatal disease.
Sarah grabs her phone and dials 999.
Call handler Natalie answers.
As Natalie dispatches an ambulance, the young mum at the other end of
the phone is in anguish.
Natalie needs a clear idea of Sophia's symptoms so she can advise
Sarah on what to do.
Sophia's condition is clearly getting worse.
Sarah fears for her daughter's life.
I kept saying her name, I kept pulling on her ear lobes, tickling her nose,
just little things like that, but she wasn't responding and I thought
if I'm being told to keep her awake it's going to be serious if she goes
to sleep in case she never woke up again.
Sophia is fighting for her life.
The three of us were just in a ball, hugging on the bed, saying,
"Don't die, Sophia," and kissing her, and...
She was just making the odd little groan and was lifeless.
Her eyes were rolling in head and stuff.
She is becoming unresponsive.
It's another sign she could be suffering from meningitis,
a deadly infection affecting the membranes surrounding the brain and
spinal cord. Although rare,
it can claim lives within 24 hours and needs emergency attention.
Every minute is vital and it takes just six for the ambulance to arrive.
One of those on board is paramedic Frank Cousins.
We could hear the baby's mum screaming and it's a scream that we've heard
so many times before and
it's not a good scream. It's not a nice scream.
Andy, baby Sophia's dad, frantically directs the team upstairs.
Sarah is still on the phone to the call handler.
As soon as the paramedics see Sophia,
they recognise all the signs of meningitis.
The mum was holding the baby and the baby was very, very limp.
Initially, we thought the worst.
To be honest with you, she was that bad.
She was only minutes away from dying.
Frank and his colleague rush Sophia to the ambulance just as
rapid response paramedic Rob McKnight arrives.
When you see a limp, lifeless body, obviously you fear the worst.
All the observations that we did, none of them were in the normal range.
Her respiratory rate was through the roof, her oxygen levels were low,
her blood pressure was really low,
her temperature was really high, her blood sugars were really low...
Everything that could be wrong was wrong with her.
Sophia desperately needs specialist treatment. Barely clinging to life,
she's taken to Alder Hey Children's Hospital.
I was hysterical and I just remember asking them,
"Is she going to be OK?
"Please, please. She needs to be OK."
They just kept saying, "We're doing everything we can, but she is very,
A specialist paediatric team is waiting and rush Sophia to
It was like,
"Oh, my God, this is really, really serious."
And I carried her into the hospital and I lie her on the bed
and then everyone just from everywhere just came running in the room.
We honestly thought she was going to die.
Sophia spends three long days on a ventilator in intensive care.
Her anxious parents remain at her bedside throughout.
Then on day four comes the news they've been praying for.
Sophia is out of danger.
This is the phone footage they take that day as their little girl
demonstrates her extraordinary recovery.
It's a Christmas miracle, and little Sophia is allowed home for the holiday.
Just to sit in the living room with the baby... It was like, "Oh, thank God.
"Thank you, God. Thank you, everyone.
"We now know our little girl's home.
"We know she's safe."
Sarah is convinced her daughter's survival is down to the emergency staff
The couple go to thank them personally,
taking baby Sophia with them.
How do you say thank you to someone who saved your daughter's life?
You can't. The words are meaningless.
They see it as a job.
It's much more than a job.
They don't realise the impact they have on people's lives.
And I'll always... I'll always tell Sophia about the three of them.
They are... I've said before, they're angels in disguise.
Lovely to see baby Sophia made a great recovery.
Now, extraordinary and unexpected events can sometimes happen to people in
the most ordinary moments of everyday life.
Like catching a bus, for instance.
Great Torrington, North Devon.
A frantic woman runs alongside a moving bus.
Passengers on the upper deck are beginning to panic.
They've just realised there's no driver on board the bus,
-and it's rolling downhill.
-I thought, "Oh, my God."
The bus driver's face, oh, it was terrible.
The horror on his face.
18-year-old Laura from Torrington has just started studying for her A-levels
at a college in nearby Barnstaple.
I really enjoy going to college. I study English language, accountancy,
business and economics, and psychology.
It's very different to school, I think.
It's nice because you have a lot more control over, like,
what you're doing and I do have a lot of friends there.
She regularly travels to college by bus.
It takes normally about half an hour to 40 minutes and, yeah,
I take it every day there and back.
The autumn term has just started and after a busy day studying,
Laura is on her way back home on her usual route.
I was looking forward to getting home.
I was probably 25 minutes into my journey when the bus made a bang.
There'd be about 10 or 15 people on the bus around me,
and there would have been people upstairs as well.
We thought maybe it could have been a tree or something.
We didn't really think much of it.
It happens all the time.
But this time, it seems it's something more than that.
The bus has struck the kerb quite hard, and at the next stop, where
some passengers alight, the driver has trouble shutting the front doors.
He gets off to investigate.
Laura's sitting on the lower deck and watches as he attempts to fix
-He was climbing back on and off, like off his seat,
trying to figure out how to shut the door again because obviously
the bang had caused the door to stop working.
While all this is going on, Louise, who lives locally,
is in her car on her way to pick up her parents for a trip out.
Her three-year-old grandson is strapped in the back, and they're just
approaching the bus stop.
He wanted to come for a ride and then I was just on the way up to my mum and dad's house,
and I noticed the car in front stopped suddenly and the man
-Louise is forced to brake.
I looked across and saw the bus no driver in the bus.
That's because he's making a call to his depot to report the problem.
But crucially, he's doing it from the roadside, not on the bus.
Whilst he is distracted, the bus begins to move.
The bus just started rolling down the road, with the bus driver off.
I didn't really know what to do.
I kind of started panicking and it took a moment to really realise what was actually happening.
But someone else has realised straightaway.
The man from the first car in front of me ran out,
pushing the bus from the front, trying to stop it.
But it's an impossible task.
The bus is at the top of a hill, and it's rolling down.
The bus driver noticed the bus was running along, so he started
running alongside, holding onto the door,
and he was like shouting in, "Stop the bus, stop the bus."
Leaving her little grandson in the back of the car,
Louise jumps out to help.
I noticed the car coming behind me and so I got out and ran across, and was like, "Whoa, stop, stop."
And then the bus still carried on coming forward.
I thought, "Oh, my God."
On the upstairs deck, the passengers have only just realised what's happening.
One starts to film with a mobile phone.
That's Louise in the white top.
I ran alongside the bus, stopping the traffic and looking on the pavement.
There was no-one coming along the road, so that was good.
My heart was pounding. I just couldn't believe it.
Neither can Laura.
It was gradually getting faster as it was going along and, like,
the bus driver wasn't fast enough to actually get back on through the door.
He was holding on to the sides.
He was doing everything,
everything possible to stop that bus, but obviously you'd never be able to stop
a double-decker. The horror on his face.
I felt so sorry for him.
On the lower deck, one passenger tries to take action.
There was this girl and she got up and she started going towards where
the driver should have been, and I said to her, "Pull up the brake!
"Pull up the handbrake!"
But she didn't get there. It was too quick.
The bus has picked up speed and is now veering towards a bungalow at the bottom
of the hill, surrounded by a wall and bushes.
Everyone started, like, panicking and we realised, so I just kind of
held onto the seat in front and braced myself.
As the bus hit the wall,
it was like a big bang, but it was like it went on for a bit because
obviously the bus started going along the wall.
Thankfully, the impact stops the bus.
The driver of the first car in front of me, he said he thought
the bus driver had got squashed into the wall so I quickly ran round.
But the driver, although shaken, is unhurt.
And then I noticed the engine was still running so I was like,
"Please, can someone go and turn the bus off,
"the engine off?"
And I think the driver went in and turned it off.
The panic-stricken passengers are still trapped on the bus.
The man that lived in the house came out and he helped. He, like, moved the bushes away
and we had someone on each side helping us get out from the rubble.
These pictures, taken just after the passengers got off,
show the bus embedded in the demolished wall,
one of the tyres pulled right off the rim.
With everyone safe, Louise rushes off to pick up her parents and Laura
decides to walk the rest of the way home.
I was glad when I got home and met my mum and she was quite worried because
I'd message her beforehand and she was like, "Oh, are you OK?
"Are you hurt?"
Incredibly, no-one on board or in the street was injured.
If there was anyone walking along the road or crossing the street...
I mean, they could've easily got hit because there was no-one to stop the bus.
If it had carried on and the kids were coming out of school,
or if it had gone on the pavement onto someone else,
it could've been a lot worse.
But it's lucky.
That's it for Close Calls today.
Amazing stories. See you next time.