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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 you need to swim? Apparently, 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 - a cyclist collapses on a quiet country road.
His friend dials 999.
He needs help now.
It turns up unexpectedly, in the form of three female off-duty
paramedics on their way to a spa day.
At first it looked like a very tired cyclist,
but it was the look on the face of the friend - just scared.
We all decided together that we needed to just go and have a look.
The car was dark.
It was like the scene out of Charlie's Angels.
But they're going to have to perform miracles to save this patient.
Also today, a lorry driver takes evasive action when a motorist
drifts dangerously across the carriageway in front of him.
The weight of the 40-tonner sends it crashing onto its side.
The driver's trapped in the lorry as it bursts into flames.
Another trucker feels he must act.
It's a case of, I don't want to die in this situation
and I would never let anyone else die in this situation.
The A38 near Gloucester.
A cyclist has collapsed at the roadside.
His panicked friend calls 999.
His face was totally contorted and then I thought he'd stopped breathing.
He has stopped breathing.
He's gone into full cardiac arrest.
The cyclist's partner, already on her way to meet them,
arrives just after the ambulance.
One of the paramedics stared me in the eye and said, "Cath,
"he is very sick and unless we get him to hospital, he's going to die."
Paul and Cath live together in Gloucester.
Their first meeting, 13 years ago,
wasn't in the most romantic of locations.
In fact, it was at the local prison,
where Paul worked as a dog handler for the Home Office.
I'm a mental health nurse and my job was to set-up and manage the mental
health team within the prison.
He used to come up into the office quite a lot
and he always made us laugh.
I'd just come out of one relationship and so had she,
and we just sort of collided, if you know what I mean.
Paul isn't normally the kind of guy I'd have gone for, but we hit it off.
We have got quite a unique relationship, actually.
It's very special.
Paul recently decided to give up smoking and improve his fitness,
with the help of his close friend Simon.
We've known each other for about 15 years.
He's someone you can ring up, just sort of pop round for a coffee.
What you get is what you see with Paul, really.
He's very honest, very open, very well liked by a lot of people.
Simon agreed to join Paul on regular bike rides.
I started doing, like everybody does,
15 miles and thought, "You've just done the Tour de France,"
to doing 30 or 40 miles regular on a Saturday morning,
just to keep myself fit, basically.
It's a Saturday in May.
Paul and Simon are planning their longest cycle ride yet -
an 80 mile loop which includes crossing the old Severn Bridge
linking England with south Wales.
I can remember Paul woke me up that morning...with a drink.
For some bizarre reason, that morning, I woke her up and said,
"Come on, darling, say you love me, because this is quite
"a dangerous ride and you might never see me again."
Bent over, gave me a kiss, said, "I love you."
I thought it was all a bit dramatic, really.
I've never done that before. I know that sounds a bit weird,
but that's actually what was said that morning.
Paul and Simon meet up and head off on their challenging journey.
Everything is going well and they stop to take this picture as they
cross the bridge. Just over halfway through the ride,
they stop for coffee and cake, as a reward.
I instantly started to feel poorly
and I felt like there was a bit of...
a bit of cake stuck
about here, about mid-chest region.
I said, "Everything all right?"
He just said, "I think I've got indigestion."
But as the pair begin the return journey, Paul's pain gets worse.
Because he often suffers from heartburn and reflux,
Paul assumes that's what's wrong.
He calls Cath at home and asks her to meet them and bring him the
indigestion medication he often takes.
I said, "If it's that bad, you really need to phone an ambulance.
"But if you really want me to bring the meds, I will."
Cath sets off,
and Paul and Simon continue cycling to link up with her closer to home.
I sort of ran out of energy and ended up sort of semi-crashing
into a gateway.
The gate leads to a farmer's field.
It's an isolated spot.
Nobody else is around
and Simon's beginning to worry about his friend's health.
And then he sat with his arms behind him.
I decided to ring 999.
It just, it didn't look right.
This is Simon's emergency call.
But Simon isn't sure where they are
and Paul's condition is deteriorating fast.
It was like a wooden stake being driven through
the centre of my chest.
Then two cyclists appear around the bend.
Luckily, one of them has local knowledge and takes over the call.
Help needs to reach them soon.
Paul is gravely ill.
His face was totally contorted.
His colouration had changed.
And then I thought he'd stopped breathing.
I remember looking at this young lad, the cyclist that was with me
and I sort of said, "What do we do now?"
And he looked at me, "I don't know."
The emergency call taker tells Simon to start CPR on Paul.
She relays instructions through the young cyclist
who stays on the phone.
Paul isn't responding.
They need a miracle.
And three arrive.
A car stopped. I looked up and this lady was coming towards me,
possibly two ladies, and another one was coming
from the outside of the car. Said, "Can we help?"
And she said, "We're paramedics."
Dee, Ali and Tara are on a day off, on their way to a relaxing treat
-at a health spa.
-At first, it looked like a very tired cyclist.
But it was the look on the face of the friend - just scared.
We all decided together that we need to just go and have a look.
It was like the scene out of Charlie's Angels.
The car was dark, they were well-dressed.
They very much took control of the situation.
Ali jumped straight on the chest and got good CPR going.
Dee and myself were managing the airway.
I was trying to talk to the Ambulance Service on the phone as well.
In order to concentrate on saving Paul,
Tara hands the phone back to Simon.
The paramedics keep frantically working on Paul.
Suddenly, his pulse returns.
We managed to get him back from the first arrest.
Because of the lack of oxygen to his brain,
he wasn't aware of what was happening.
We were very glad when the ambulance turned up.
Tara rushes to one of the ambulances to grab oxygen and a heart monitor,
but the news isn't good.
Paul's having a massive heart attack.
It was in a very dangerous place of the heart.
If you have a blockage in this artery, it's called the widow-maker.
It is normally non-survivable.
They must get Paul to hospital.
An air ambulance has been called and is approaching.
Then, Paul's partner, Cath, arrives.
She thought he needed heartburn medication.
Instead, she finds him fighting for his life.
He was totally wired up.
He was conscious, he was...
asking them to not let him die.
With that, Paul arrested again.
They then shouted, "We've lost him."
His heart was shaking, rather than pumping
and we shocked him, which then got him back again.
The air ambulance arrives, landing close by.
It was then that one of the paramedics kind of grabbed my hands,
absolutely stared me in the eye and said, "That is for Paul.
"Cath, he is very sick, and unless we get him into hospital...
"..he's going to die." And so that was quite...
Paul is flown 23 miles to the Bristol Royal Infirmary.
One of his coronary arteries is completely blocked.
He has emergency surgery to fit a tube inside the vessel,
opening it up and allowing the blood to flow.
Incredibly, just two hours later, Paul is awake.
And I instantly, apparently, felt better.
I was, like, up and about.
When we went in to see him, he was totally wired up,
but he looked like Paul, colour,
and his first question to Simon is,
"Do you know where my bike is, mate?"
I couldn't believe how well he was and buoyant.
If it wasn't for those three paramedics being where they were,
at that time, that would've been it, that would've just been, bang,
-out, game over.
-We let out a sigh of relief, really,
that all our efforts had been...
good and that it had been successful.
Paul and Cath later visit the ambulance station to thank Tara and
It was very emotional.
-I know I spoilt their spa day.
So I did treat them to another one,
I bought them another spa day.
Amazingly, Paul is able to go home from hospital five days after his
heart attack, but disaster is about to strike once more.
Later - Cath wakes up in the middle of the night
and finds Paul motionless beside her.
I couldn't wake him up.
And I knew immediately that he'd had another heart attack.
She dials 999, but this time,
it's down to her alone to keep Paul alive.
Three passing paramedics - what a piece of luck for Paul that day.
In an emergency, you never know where help is going to come from.
Sometimes it's complete strangers who come to the rescue -
even risking their lives to do so.
Birmingham, the M6 motorway.
A lorry driver's dashboard camera is recording when a car joining the
carriageway cuts in front of him.
He's forced to take evasive action, with terrifying consequences.
The lorry tips over, landing on its side, then catches fire.
The unconscious driver is trapped in the upturned cab.
Other motorists watch in horror.
It's the most scariest thing I've ever seen.
The flames were spreading, I'd say, a metre every 30 seconds.
We need to get this guy out.
Rockcliffe is a small coastal village in Scotland,
looking out onto the Solway Firth,
the body of water that forms part of the border with England.
Lorry driver William lives here with his wife
and enjoys the peace and quiet.
I've lived here for four years. I love it here.
I work away all week. I'm away, Monday to Friday,
or at least five days a week, anyway.
So when I get home at the weekends, I just like to relax.
William's been a trucker for more than 25 years
and still covers hundreds of miles a week.
I grew up in lorries. My dad was a lorry driver.
It's in the blood. I had an uncle that had a business,
my grandad drove lorries,
so it's something I've always done.
I love the open road.
It's a great way of life.
Or it is if you enjoy it.
It's a summer's morning in June and today,
William's enjoying a sunny drive from Scotland to Northampton
to deliver a lorry load of wood chippings for a pet store.
When you're hauling 44 tonnes up and down the road,
you're constantly alert of what's happening round about you,
potential hazards, trying to forethink what other people are going to do before they do them.
And to provide a record in case of any problems on the road,
William has a camera fixed to the dashboard in his cab.
It's recording as he approaches the junction where the M6 toll road
rejoins the normal motorway.
As always, William's keeping a watchful eye out.
But nothing can prepare him for what this driver's going to do next.
When I first saw the car, she was going real slow,
with nothing front of her.
She had no reason to cut across in front of me from where she was.
But then the car driver dangerously drifts across the chevrons.
First of all I thought, "What the hell's happening here? Where's she going?"
She's going right in front of his 44-tonne lorry.
If I'd hit her, the speed I was going,
I don't know what would've happened. My first priority was don't hit her,
avoid hitting that car.
This is what happens.
William can't stop.
There is traffic in the outer lane, so he can't move right.
He bangs his horn in desperation.
He then swerves left to avoid the car,
but he has to turn so sharply the massive weight of his fully-loaded
trailer shifts to one side.
He's doing 60mph.
The momentum is too great for him to straighten up.
The lorry starts tipping.
This 60-foot long truck is going over.
There's nothing he can do.
And it went over...
As it went over, I just shut my eyes
and hoped nothing comes through the windscreen.
As William's vehicle careers off the road, another lorry driver,
Lee Taylor, is just joining the motorway.
I didn't expect anything to happen.
It was just a normal join the motorway.
And then, all of a sudden, a car just cut straight across in front
of this HGV truck. I was then about four cars behind.
The lorry driver couldn't have done anything to avoid the crash at all.
The truck literally, as he swerved, just fell over like a domino.
I was slowing myself down, obviously trying to check the mirrors.
And all of a sudden it's skidding along the floor.
There is smoke everywhere, because of the dust that's coming up,
and the cars then all trying to brake, swerve round.
I don't know how someone didn't run into the lorry.
Lee pulls up, gets out of his truck and runs over to the crashed lorry,
now lying on the hard shoulder.
He sees William inside the upturned cab.
He's unconscious, his head's bleeding,
and he's dangling from the driver's seat, suspended by his seat belt.
Although half the windscreen is cracked,
it hasn't broken and Lee can't reach him.
I jumped out with my fire extinguisher.
I hit the window screen, it hasn't even cracked it.
It's amazing how strong the piece of glass is, really, on an HGV.
Then the situation gets a whole lot worse.
By this time, you can smell burning.
As I looked to the side of the truck,
a quarter of the trailer was already on fire.
The only thing I could think of is, we've got to get on to the cab, get him out.
Luckily, the cab's landed on its side,
close to the crash barrier on the hard shoulder.
Lee and another passing motorist clamber onto it to reach the cab.
He's told me to hold the door open, I've held William's arm.
He's then slid into the cab.
But William's unconscious and a dead weight.
It's an agonising struggle to free him.
I was just trying to shake him.
Hello, hello, and I was getting no response from him.
I was stood looking at the back of the trailer.
It was the most scariest thing I've ever seen.
The flames were at a quarter of the truck,
and it was spreading within, I would say, a metre every 30 seconds.
All that was going through my mind was my partner was seven months
pregnant at the time. So I knew...
My mind was, I don't want to die in this situation and I would never let
anyone else die in this situation.
William's been out cold for a couple of minutes.
But now he's coming to.
You could see his eyes rolling a little bit.
He was trying to look up at the door to see why the door was the wrong
way. We had to just, come on, you've been in an accident.
You need to be able to help us get you out.
He took my weight, and then pulled me up through the driver's door.
They get William down safely and away from the lorry.
Looking at his head, you could see that he'd actually took a good whack.
I could just see blood.
I think he was more shocked how fast the flames were coming up the truck.
Within 15, 20 seconds of actually getting off the truck,
the cab was completely full of smoke.
And then within a minute, the whole truck had gone in flames.
It's a good thing I got helped out.
If I wasn't helped out,
if that had happened in the middle of the night and I was left there,
and I didn't get helped out, I don't know how it would have turned out.
Bruised and battered, William is taken to hospital for a checkup,
but thankfully has no serious injuries.
It's remarkable after such an horrendous accident.
The Fire Service couldn't save the lorry, which was incinerated.
But William's camera survived after being rescued from the cab with him.
When I first got the camera back from the police,
it would have been the first time I'd seen the footage.
I watched it then and I've only ever watched it one other time since.
It's not the best thing to watch.
The driver who cut in front of William failed to stop.
But with her numberplate caught on camera,
she was tracked down by the police and charged with careless driving.
She received a £200 fine and nine points on her licence.
Williams still needs physiotherapy on his neck and shoulders,
but he's back at work and knows how fortunate he's been.
If I'd hit the car, either would've killed her,
I could have swerved in the other direction and killed somebody else,
or, if there was nobody to help me, it could have killed me.
Soon after the day Lee's brave actions helped save William,
he and his partner had a baby boy.
Lee and William have stayed in touch.
He kept sending me messages, saying, thank you very much, I owe you my life and everything.
I just wish him all the best, really. I just hope it never happens to him or anyone else again.
I thank him from the bottom of my heart.
I think that day an angel was looking after me that day.
William was saved by the quick thinking actions of Lee,
a total stranger at the time.
But often when the chips are down,
it's up to our nearest and dearest to help.
In Gloucestershire, while out on a bike ride in the countryside with a
pal, cyclist Paul suffered a massive cardiac arrest.
His life was saved by three off duty female paramedics,
who appeared out of nowhere and gave him CPR until an air ambulance
arrived to rush him to Bristol Royal Infirmary.
After emergency surgery and a five-day stay in hospital,
Paul is allowed home, much to the relief of his partner, Cath.
We realised how fortunate he been, how lucky he'd been.
One in ten, I think they said, survive an off-site cardiac arrest.
On the Friday, they discharge me.
They said, yes, your damage to your heart is quite minimal,
you're quite well to go home.
I can remember Paul asked me,
"Are you scared I'm going to have another one?"
And that just seemed crazy.
But just gone midnight the very next evening,
when the couple are tucked up in bed, something wakes Cath.
I remember hearing what I thought was Paul crying.
I said, "It's OK, it's OK, wake up, it's just a nightmare."
And the noise stopped.
I thought, "That noise has stopped."
But, actually, I can't hear a thing.
Switching on the light, Cath is horrified to find Paul isn't breathing.
So I screamed at him, shouted at him.
I couldn't wake him up.
And I knew immediately that he had another heart attack.
Panicked, Cath calls 999.
This is her call.
Leilani is the call handler at the other end.
As soon as she came through and said not breathing,
I essentially send that ambulance.
I was trying to get her to essentially do CPR.
So it was getting her back to the phone, getting her to listen,
because she was panicked.
I had the phone on loudspeaker, which I put on the bed.
Leilani tells Cath where to place her hands.
I put my entire weight down on to Paul's chest,
and she was counting with me.
If you don't start pushing that oxygenated blood through somebody's
system and getting it to their organs, they might survive,
but they may have brain damage.
Just kept bashing away.
Suddenly, there's a response from Paul.
Cath must start CPR again and keep going until the ambulance crew arrive.
They're there within minutes.
I do remember screaming at them.
"This is his second heart attack in a week."
Kristian is one of the paramedics.
When he sees Paul, he's not hopeful.
No vital signs, wasn't breathing, very pale.
He looked like he was dead.
The crew continue performing CPR.
They give Paul oxygen and prepare to shock his heart with a defibrillator.
To see signs of life come back is quite rare.
But Cath's earlier CPR has given Paul a chance.
Amazingly, he is still fighting.
Had signs of a pulse come back.
And then he started to make respiratory effort himself.
The best place for any patient then is to be in hospital.
I just said goodbye to him on the stairs.
I didn't say goodbye to him, but I did kind of tell him, you know,
I've given you a heartbeat, you owe it to me to keep that going.
I do remember saying that.
Paul is rushed back to hospital in Bristol,
where it's confirmed he's had a second heart attack.
It's linked to the damage caused by the first one.
Doctors put him into an induced coma to help recovery.
I remember them saying the likelihood of brain damage was significant.
Paul is woken up four days later.
Remarkably, he has no brain damage and has suffered very little further
damage to his heart.
He was going to be OK, amazing as it was, really.
I was just a really, really, really fortunate guy.
Paul's now been fitted with an internal defibrillator that should
automatically kick in if he has another heart attack.
He's on his way back to full fitness.
We've both been out on our bike, we did 50 miles a few weeks ago.
It's nothing short of miraculous.
Two cardiac arrests within a week, and he's made a full recovery.
Yeah, it's unbelievable.
He's probably one of the luckiest guys ever.
Obviously what Cath did, and everybody else did, that saved me,
I'm eternally in their debt.
You know? Given me back my life.
Paul's one lucky man.
He certainly beat the odds.
And I'm glad to tell you he's back on his bike.
See you next time for more Close Calls.