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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.
Right, 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 he need to swim? They're supposed to still be on a boat.
These are the 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:
Emergency workers flood the scene of an accident
on a busy dual carriageway.
The victim is one of their own.
A traffic officer hit by a car while racing to an accident nearby.
His police motorcycle lays mangled and abandoned in the road.
Air Ambulance trauma medics battle to save him.
His body is shattered and broken.
We just had, literally,
a minute or two to sort him out before his heart actually stopped,
he was that poorly. He was trying his best to die.
And an animal charity worker is charged by an elephant
he's trying to help.
And I'm catching a glimpse of this elephant closing on me.
The five tonne beast sends him flying.
I could see this is going to hurt.
The A31 near Alton, Hampshire.
A shattered police motorcycle lays abandoned in the road,
and debris is strewn across both carriageways.
The rider's helmet, boots and leathers have been discarded.
Their owner, a traffic cop racing to a road accident,
has been hit by a car and catapulted more than 100 metres
down the busy dual carriageway.
Now he's fighting for his life.
Another policeman at the scene of the original accident
witnessed the collision.
It was horrific, the way that he kind of bounced, if you like.
Rushing to the side of the injured man, he makes a shocking discovery.
It's one of his closest colleagues.
I guess my heart almost stopped.
Because it's almost like a family member.
Retired police officer Nick Barman lives in the countryside
on the outskirts of Arbroath in Scotland.
He recently moved here from the south of England.
It's become a haven, one he shares with his girlfriend, Alice.
It is a slow pace of life,
and in actual fact, this suits me a lot better, being up here.
Their new home has also given Nick plenty of space
to indulge his passion for restoring vintage vehicles.
I've always renovated old cars, and also my motorbikes,
more often than not at the same time.
In the past, Nick combined his love of cars and bikes with work.
He joined the police force at 25 and was overjoyed when he was posted
to the traffic department.
I did traffic in cars, and then on the bikes.
The freedom of being on a bike, there was days when I used to think,
I can't believe I'm getting paid to do this.
Every day I looked forward to going to work,
and I wouldn't have swapped places
with anyone for anything.
One of Nick's closest colleagues on the force was PC Tristan Flanagan.
They worked together on and off for ten years.
Nick was such a lovely, approachable chap, always happy, funny,
telling silly jokes, and a very good mechanic,
so he was sort of the go-to guy
if you had any questions about your car or your motorbike.
It's quite an involving job in the police,
and so generally a lot of your friends tend to be in the job.
And we work together and get to know one another well.
It's almost like a family.
Working in the police force also brought Nick together
with his girlfriend, Alice.
Alice worked in the admin department
on the traffic division, where I was stationed.
He would come down to the station and we were friends
for quite a while before we were dating.
They have been together now for more than four years.
He is my best friend.
He's just a really good person.
He loves what he does,
and when he loves something he's very passionate about it,
be it his job, cars, bikes.
It's a Monday morning in February, the start of the working week,
and the roads in Hampshire are heavy with traffic,
when Nick gets an urgent call-out.
His pal Tristan is already at the scene.
It came over the radio, could I attend an accident,
which occurred on the A31 at Alton,
where a motorcyclist had been knocked off by a vehicle.
We sorted out the initial traffic issues,
let the ambulance, which had quite quickly turned up,
assess the rider that was still laying partially in lane two
of the dual carriageway.
Needing help with controlling the traffic, Tristan calls for backup.
He is unaware it's Nick who's nearest and responds.
And I set off on blues and twos.
Minutes later, Tristan hears a siren approaching.
I looked up to see who it was,
and it was a traffic motorcyclist coming up the opposite carriageway.
To reach the scene of the accident,
Nick has to travel down the southbound carriageway,
cross over and head back.
A highly skilled and trained emergency biker,
he's travelling at around 100 miles an hour with blue lights flashing
when a yellow car in the nearside lane catches his attention.
I could see the driver was looking at the accident,
and he was also closing on the vehicle ahead.
On the other side of the carriageway,
Tristan also sees the car suddenly pull out,
straight into the path of the approaching police biker.
There was a huge collision,
and the police motorcyclist and the motorbike went sort of flying
through the air,
sort of pitched and landed on the central reservation,
which then threw the rider off.
I do remember thinking, I'm in trouble,
because I had become separated from the bike.
It was horrific, the way that he kind of bounced, if you like.
And there was debris and paperwork and bike parts all over the show.
I knew it wasn't going to end well,
and I knew I was still travelling at quite a high speed.
He slides along the rough ground of the central reservation,
eventually coming to a halt 125 metres from the point of impact.
A police helicopter later films the wreck of his mangled bike.
I do remember lying there for a second feeling winded, and thinking,
I've got away with this.
And... Not smug, but thinking, actually, this has ended OK.
But it hasn't.
Nick's in shock, adrenaline is masking the pain.
For experienced traffic officer Tristan, however,
there's no doubting the horror he has just witnessed.
Straight away he calls the Air Ambulance,
then heads to the injured biker.
I ran towards the police rider,
not knowing what condition he was going to be in,
if he was even going to be alive, to be brutally honest.
He is, but only just.
His pelvis was at a horrible 45 degree angle,
with sort of one leg over the other at quite a skewed angle,
with sort of blood inside his visor.
But the helmet does not hide the identity of the injured man.
When I first realised it was Nick...
..I guess my heart almost stopped
because it was that dawn of realisation it was someone you knew.
It's almost like a family member.
And you want to do absolutely everything you can to help them,
and that's why it was very, very difficult to then...
..separate yourself, have that emotional connection,
kind of stop that, and start doing your job.
Fighting back a wave of emotion, that's what Tristan does.
The best thing I could do until one of the paramedics came up to help us
was just get hold of his head and neck and make sure
I kept him still and he couldn't move,
and he didn't try to take his helmet off, or anything like that.
Just reassure him.
He's overwhelmed by the feeling
that, at any moment, his friend could die in his arms.
Later, the Air Ambulance arrives.
A specialist trauma doctor is on board.
But it's going to take all his skill to save the dying policeman.
We just had, literally, a minute or two to sort him out
in terms of particularly his airway and breathing,
before his heart actually stopped. He was that poorly.
And Nick's girlfriend rushes to his side.
I just remember staring at him thinking, you can't die.
Mount Elgon National Park, Kenya.
A British wildlife expert is filming a unique herd of elephants.
But one of them is about to single him out for some special attention.
I never expected to be hurt by an elephant.
I thought I was fairly good at reading them,
but on this occasion, things kind of went wrong.
Without warning, a five-tonne female elephant charges
and smashes him to the ground.
She was trying to squash me.
With more than 36 years' experience,
Ian Redmond is a renowned wildlife consultant and conservationist,
who's been awarded an OBE for his efforts.
One of his passions is following the Mount Elgon elephants in Kenya,
a herd world-famous for their unusual habit
of venturing into the area's large caves.
The Elgon elephants are the only elephant tribe
that goes deep underground.
One of the most exciting things on the planet
is a herd of elephants disappearing into the black maw of a cave,
and then coming out several hours later.
What were they doing in there? Why so long?
And that was what got me hooked.
It's since been discovered the elephants have a taste
for the salty rocks in the caves.
To help protect them from ivory hunters,
Ian set up a monitoring unit.
His family often join him in Kenya when he's working with the team.
My wife is understanding of my
passion for wildlife, and my desire to conserve it.
She has been in Elgon.
She lived in the cave with me for six weeks before we got married.
Kind of a field test!
And it worked! And we're still married.
So, Elgon means a lot to both of us.
Ian's work is sponsored by the Born Free Foundation,
an international wildlife charity.
Its president is Will Travers.
I would regard Ian as
one of the world's top elephant and great ape specialists.
I don't know anybody quite like him.
The nearest person that I can think of who is a bit like Ian
is actually Sir David Attenborough.
It's a Sunday in April.
Ian and Will have travelled to Nairobi, Kenya,
to witness a landmark destruction of 105 tonnes of confiscated ivory.
It's designed to show ivory hunters they won't profit from their crimes.
What we're really at is a mass funeral,
it's a cremation for thousands of elephants.
We had both been to see this huge bonfire of the vanities,
bearing witness to something that we have been fighting together
for more than 25 years.
To me, what was significant was the fact that several of those tusks
came from elephants on Mount Elgon,
because elephants have very close-knit family groups.
Mothers and daughters stay together for life -
perhaps 50, 60 years of relationship,
and when someone in that kind of tight family group is killed,
the other members of the family mourn.
Leaving Will in Nairobi, Ian then travels north
to continue monitoring the elephants at Mount Elgon.
The big question is, how many are there?
Each time we get an opportunity to film them,
we try and look for characteristics on the individual elephants
and give them names, so that we will eventually
know the society of Elgon elephants.
But, when Ian goes out with park rangers to look for the elephants,
they find evidence of charcoal production.
This illegal activity scares the elephants,
and destroys the trees they eat from.
The team records what they find.
The elphants are just a few yards away down there.
It looks as though they have been feeding on the leaves
of this massive branch.
Afterwards, it's hard to catch the frightened herd on camera
as they hide in the deep foliage.
But Ian does manage to film one lone male.
Trying to get close to elephants when they are already frightened,
when you have to work on foot,
is clearly going to be potentially dangerous.
Ian needs to record large numbers of elephants at the same time
to help identify them.
So, the next day, the team set up at the edge of a glade
where the herd often cross.
And they get lucky.
Around 40 elephants cross the glade right in front of them.
It's one of the things I live for, it's wonderful!
But on this occasion, things kind of went wrong.
Giving them space, Ian and the team are filming from 150 metres away.
They think it's a safe distance.
I never expected to be hurt by an elephant.
As the last of the elephants cross the clearing,
the team prepare to pack up.
But this large female splits from the herd.
Then we noticed that the last one had actually turned
and was running towards us.
Ian runs as the elephant heads straight for him.
I peer over my shoulder,
catching a glimpse of this elephant closing on me.
Ian's camera captures the terrifying moment
the five-tonne elephant attacks him.
I could see this is going to hurt,
so I didn't want to be hit from behind...
..and I turned around.
As the elephant rams Ian, it smashes him to the ground.
There's a sort of moment where everything seems to slow down,
and my hand hit her face as I went over backwards,
and I have a sensory memory of the cool, hard ivory,
and the warm, soft upper lip,
Before he drops the camera,
this last freeze-frame shows Ian under the elephant
as he struggles to avoid being crushed.
The next memory is looking up at her chest, with my feet pushing off her chest.
She was trying to squash me.
I remember at one point I had hold of her front right leg.
She started to squash me, but I wriggled.
The next thing I know,
I've been kicked or flicked out from underneath her,
and land on the grass to one side.
Ian's flailing legs can be seen as he is kicked away by the elephant.
And barely had I landed there, when the first shot rang out.
A ranger fires his gun into the air.
It scares off the elephant.
Then the only noise is Ian gasping for breath.
The shots rang out, I'm still here,
and I got up, but as I got up, a sharp pain in my neck
and ribs, and a buzzing sensation in my fingers.
Fearing he may have damage to his spine, Ian lies down again.
Will is still in Nairobi
when he hears about the elephant attacking Ian.
We don't know the extent of his injuries,
they're taking him down on a stretcher,
they lashed some ponchos together.
I guess they were carrying me for an hour, hour and a half,
before we got to the Land Rover.
But we got him back down to Nairobi
using the flying doctor service in Kenya.
Ian gets thoroughly checked over at the hospital.
I had what's known as a stove-in chest,
where intense pressure on the sternum squashes your chest,
but in fact nothing had broken.
It obviously stretched a bit.
But it had managed to remain intact,
so I have got an elephant-proof skeleton, guaranteed!
Ian is found to have a partially dislocated shoulder
and soft tissue damage to his head and chest.
He is still undergoing physiotherapy,
but knows he had a lucky escape.
I am very aware of that.
If there hadn't been a ranger to fire a shot, um...
I'd got through round one, I don't think I'd have managed round two.
Nobody can be sure exactly what caused the elephant
to run 150 metres to attack Ian, but he has a theory.
I think it happened because the elephants were stressed
and frightened from the charcoal burners,
and it's only a couple of years since they lost several members
of their family to ivory poachers,
and really, when you think about that elephant,
she had obviously just had enough of humans,
and wanted to come and bring the fight to the enemy.
Carly, as the team have named her,
has been near humans since without problems,
and Ian certainly hasn't taken it personally.
I haven't finished yet, I've got a lot that I want to do
to try and make the world a safe place for apes and elephants.
Great that Ian is still carrying on his good work.
Now, back to that earlier story.
Our emergency services do great work helping us when we're in trouble.
But sometimes, they have to help each other.
The A31 near Alton in Hampshire.
A mangled police motorbike lies in the road,
its debris is strewn across both carriageways.
Nearby Air Ambulance medics are fighting to save the life
of its rider, PC Nick Barman.
Travelling at more than 100mph on his way to a traffic accident,
Nick was hit by a yellow car.
Accident investigators take these pictures, detailing the path
of his powerful motorbike as it careered 75 metres
along the central reservation.
Its front wheel then hit a drain gully, catapulting him into the air.
Nick landed between the carriageways narrowly missing a silver Volvo.
Video from a police helicopter captures images of the bike,
plus Nick's boots and leathers.
Nick's friend and colleague, Tristan,
witnessed the whole shocking incident.
Obviously a bit of a heart in your mouth moment,
and you kind of can't believe what you're seeing.
Tristan has attended many accidents,
but this time it's a friend whose life is hanging in the balance.
To his relief, a motorist comes to help.
There was a paramedic in the queueing traffic
on the opposite carriageway,
who was some kind of expert with the nature of Nick's injuries.
He knew exactly what to do.
Tristan quickly closes down the entire southbound carriageway
to allow access for emergency vehicles and the Air Ambulance.
The helicopter is minutes away,
specialist trauma doctor Professor Charles Deakin is on board.
As we were overhead, I had a chance to look and see
what had actually happened at the incident below.
It was obvious that he'd been travelling at very high speed,
had come off his bike, and had tumbled down the road.
That's a long way to bounce,
so I was expecting a very seriously ill person when I got to the scene.
Nick's leathers are quickly cut away
so Professor Deakin can assess his injuries.
We just had literally a minute or two to sort him out,
particularly in terms of his airway and breathing,
before his heart actually stopped. He was that poorly.
Nick is struggling to breathe, and has multiple fractures.
The medical team works quickly to stabilise him.
Behind a screen held by firefighters,
Professor Deakin puts Nick into an induced coma.
Normally that's only something we'd do in hospital,
so it's quite a delicate procedure to do out on the road side,
and is not without its challenges.
Nick's airway is clear, but he can't breathe.
His lungs have collapsed.
The way to treat that is to make an incision through the chest wall,
in both sides of the chest, just under the armpit,
which goes through all the muscles,
between the ribs and into the chest cavity itself.
The purpose of that is to let the air out,
which has accumulated outside the lungs,
and the lungs are then able to re-inflate,
so that is done very quickly just with a scalpel,
but is immediately life-saving.
But Nick has additional injuries.
They're extensive and complicated.
He has internal bleeding and his arms, legs and pelvis are shattered.
We worked our way round, and splinted his arms and his legs.
Also we were concerned about his pelvis, that was probably broken.
So that can bleed very significantly,
so we needed to put a splint around his waist
to try and hold his pelvic bones together, and reduce the bleeding.
There's no more they can do at the scene.
Nick's blood pressure is falling.
They must get him to hospital.
The Air Ambulance rushes him to Southampton General,
a specialist trauma centre.
Back at police HQ, word of the accident has spread.
Nick's girlfriend Alice is not on shift,
so it falls to a senior officer to make the difficult call.
He was very frank, he was very calm,
he didn't give me very much detail.
I don't think I really thought too much about it.
My main concern was to get to the hospital.
It takes 15 minutes for the Air Ambulance to reach Southampton General.
An emergency trauma team is waiting.
They rush Nick straight into resuscitation,
and operate immediately.
He has a torn bowel and concussion, and his entire body is shattered.
He has broken both knees, all his ribs on the left side, a shoulder,
an ankle, one of his feet,
and his pelvis.
After long and complicated surgery, he is taken to intensive care.
Alice is at the hospital,
but must endure an agonising eight-hour wait
before she can be with him.
Seeing someone that you care about like that,
with a machine breathing for them...
..it's very difficult.
And I think it also...
..in that second, you can't do anything.
I just remember staring at him thinking,
you can't die.
The accident has an effect on all Nick's colleagues.
Those of us that were involved went home feeling extremely low,
not knowing what the outcome the following day was going to be.
My wife knew something has gone wrong. A, because I was so late off,
and that's I think when you just sort of let it all out.
I burst out in tears that night,
because up until that point you just feel you can't let that emotion out
because you've got to do your job.
The following day, Nick regains consciousness
and becomes aware of the shocking reality of his injuries.
I couldn't move, I couldn't turn over,
there wasn't a part of me that actually, other than my right arm,
that actually moved.
Tristan visits his friend and is shocked by his appearance.
I've never seen anything like it, to be honest.
The pins and the bars and everything that were in his legs,
there were just so many of them.
After two more successful operations in the next 48 hours,
and five days in intensive care, Nick is out of danger.
He's moved to a general ward,
where he starts a gruelling daily regime of physiotherapy
in an attempt to get him back on its feet.
But the medics aren't hopeful.
My legs didn't go straight any more, they were so bent in one position,
and my back also didn't go straight,
and I remember thinking at that point, this actually feels like
this is never going to be right again.
But, thanks to Nick's sheer determination,
and against all the odds,
just 14 weeks after his accident, Nick takes his first steps.
I managed to go from walking one or two lengths of the parallel bars
to walking outside the parallel bars,
and then walking between cones and things like that.
Nick later returned to work, but due to the extent of his injuries,
eventually he had to give up life with the police.
The driver of the yellow car was fined for careless driving
and given nine points on his licence.
I don't hold any ill will towards him.
He made a mistake, we all make mistakes.
After taking medical retirement, Nick moved to Scotland with Alice,
where he's settled for a slower pace of life.
I can't walk very far, I can't walk on uneven ground.
If I step on something uneven, my ankle goes over,
followed by my knee, and then I'll fall.
And I fall quite regularly.
He will push himself, sometimes to his detriment,
because he doesn't want to feel he can't do things.
I just have to accept there are a lot of things I can't do any more,
and I've just had to change the way I go about life.
But he knows it's a miracle he survived at all.
So many circumstances worked out in my favour,
I don't think you could have got a closer call than that.
Unbelievable to think anyone could survive that crash,
but thank goodness Nick did.
Join me next time on Close Calls for more amazing stories
from people who've lived to tell the tale.