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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 mum-to-be is heading home when part of a huge tree
crashes down onto her car.
Office workers come to her rescue.
We didn't know how many people were in there,
and it was quite a big beast of a tree.
And Irishman Shane is surfing off an Australian beach
when he spots something in the water.
A fin pops up behind Dale, and boom!
A man on the beach witnesses the horror and calls for help.
Also today, a family car ablaze on the motorway.
Another motorist knows she must act.
The family weren't making any attempt to get out of the car -
they're clearly still in shock.
A car edges slowly out of a tree-lined driveway.
The vehicle's dash cam is recording
as the driver carefully checks both directions...
..then pulls out, turning right on to the main road.
The car isn't even out of second gear when this happens.
The radio continues playing
but there's no sound from the female driver.
Marketing manager Sarah enjoys her job with a major food company
and often works from home.
She lives in Melton Mowbray,
along with her partner, Tony, and their three dogs.
So I've got two rescue doggies and Tony's got a beagle.
If I had to describe Tony in three words,
I would describe him as fun-loving, confident and protective.
What do I love about Sarah?
Everything, everything she does.
She's just a great person.
The couple met through a mutual friend.
Our first date was, I went round to Tony's house for tea
and he cooked for me. He's an amazing cook.
I made a home-made lasagne.
She's not a great cook.
So, yeah, my cooking skills benefit in the relationship.
It's February and weather warnings have been issued for much of the UK.
A storm named Doris is on its way.
It was slightly windy and wet outside,
but there was nothing to say it was going to be a strange day.
Sarah and Tony are expecting a baby,
and have recently bought a property together.
They're in the process of moving out of their previous rented home.
We still had some bits and bobs left at the old house.
There were a few boxes in the garage -
they were heavy ones, so I told her to leave them alone
and I'd sort them at the weekend.
Tony heads off to work, leaving Sarah at her computer.
At lunchtime, she decides to pop over to their old house
to collect the post.
But while I was there, I just thought, "Let's fill the car."
With a car bursting at the seams, Sarah sets off home.
She has a dash cam which is recording.
It's a cul-de-sac and people park on the road,
so it becomes single-lane.
Sarah edges cautiously out of the driveway,
between a parked silver van on her left and a white car on the right.
As I turned right into the road, I heard a bang.
And I honestly, hand on heart,
thought I'd clipped the back end of the BMW
that was parked on my right.
But that's not what the noise is.
It's a limb of a huge tree
in the garden of her old home breaking away.
It crashes onto the car's bonnet,
piercing the windscreen where Sarah is sitting.
VOICES ON RADIO
The car radio keeps playing,
but for 20 seconds there's no other sound.
Then the dash cam records Sarah's cries.
Just across the road, office manager Belinda and her colleagues
have been watching the weather deteriorate
through their window on the third floor.
A few times, you know, we'd looked out the window
and saw all the trees outside sort of swaying and stuff.
When they hear the loud crack, they know instinctively what it is.
One of the girls just sort of went,
"Oh, my God, the tree's coming down."
We all looked round and it was almost as if it was in slow motion.
And then we just heard a sort of almighty crash.
Belinda and a female colleague, Chris, rush out of the office.
We saw the tree on top of the car, obviously it was quite a shock,
and we didn't know how many people were in there,
and it was quite a big beast of a tree.
And trapped underneath, still in the vehicle, is Sarah.
I remember just looking at the windscreen...
..thinking, "It's smashed but it's still in one piece."
I could see a tree and I think it took quite a few seconds
to actually realise what had happened.
I remember trying to open the driver side door, and I couldn't.
And then I think panic really did begin to set in.
As Belinda and Chris reach the car,
they realise the tree isn't the only thing that's come down.
I saw this cable down, so I was like,
"Chris, there's a cable, hold on."
Started yelling that there was an electric line down
and I was a bit like, "Oh, my God, what happens now?"
A group of builders who are working around the corner
quickly check out the cable.
And then I remember hearing a couple of guys saying,
"No, no, it's fine, it's telephone cables."
Chris ran to the car as I dialled the 999.
An anxious Sarah is worried about her unborn baby.
I was like, "Oh, my God, she's pregnant," down the phone.
I hadn't told anybody at that point.
I was only just about,
I was just 11, 12 weeks pregnant when it happened.
The builders and office workers struggle to get Sarah out of the car
but the tree is blocking the driver's door.
They urge her to climb across to the passenger side of the vehicle.
Right, you're all right.
Are you able to climb over?
Her in-car camera records her
scrambling across the seat to safety.
It was obvious that she was shook up and a bit shocked,
and she was sort of in a bit of a daze.
I remember looking at the car, and just very shocked
and just not really registering that it had happened to me.
She calls Tony.
All of a sudden, there was FaceTime came up from Sarah on the phone.
And I said, "Oh, I'm OK,
"but I need you to not panic when I show you the car."
The first thing I did was I panicked.
So I turned round FaceTime and showed him.
I could see the car was just flattened by this tree.
And I think I pretty much just got, "I'm on my way."
Sarah is taken to Leicester's Royal Infirmary, where Tony meets her.
She and the baby get the all-clear and the couple return to the car.
As we pulled up, it just looked like carnage.
There was tree, bits of tree all over the road.
When that branch came down, it did a considerable amount of damage.
You could see this branch going right through the dash,
and the whole roof had literally caved in.
It really hit me then how bad it could have been.
Every panel on the car was dented.
It was absolute devastation.
Yeah, it was really close,
and if I had been a little less cautious pulling out of there,
it wouldn't have been the steering column it had pierced,
it would've been me.
Comin up later, a family car is hit by a van on the motorway.
Both vehicles go up in flames.
That 20 seconds I think is the worst of my life because it was something
came into my mind, "Oh, now the game is over."
Port Macquarie, Australia.
The emergency services receive a call from a man on a beach
who's just witnessed an horrific event.
In the water, Irishman Shane was only metres away
when a great white shark locked its jaws onto his surfing buddy, Dale.
His eyeballs go white and that's when I know he's being bitten.
Lighthouse Beach in Port Macquarie.
An attractive coastal town just north of Sydney
on Australia's eastern coast.
It's late afternoon when a call comes in
to the local emergency services from a shocked beach-goer.
On the shoreline, passers-by are trying to save the life
of a severely injured man.
He's been attacked by a great white shark
while body-boarding in the surf.
The man who witnessed the horror unfold
urges the call-taker to send help quickly.
As the call continues, the injured man's friend,
who was in the sea with him, rushes out of the water to help.
The call picks up the drama.
The man's rescuers fear he's dying in front of them.
Body-boarder Dale is losing blood rapidly.
His friend, Irishman Shane, was only metres away when the shark struck.
I can see the grey head, I can see its eyeball.
It rolls under and Dale's screaming, "Get out!
Now he's trying to stop his best mate bleeding to death.
His leg is almost off.
We can see bone...
Life in Australia's been good for Irishman Shane.
He made his home in Port Macquarie after a temporary trip
turned into something a little longer.
Working as a painter and decorator,
Shane met and fell in love with his Australian partner, Shani.
We've got a kid on the way, due in three months.
Exciting times ahead.
And Shane can't wait to take his new family back to his old home
in historic Wexford in south-east Ireland.
It's beautiful. Beautiful place and we've kind of planned, actually,
to spend a year back in Ireland at some point.
Since arriving in Australia, Shane has become best mates with Dale,
an engineer and devoted dad of two who also lives in Port Macquarie.
He's got a bit of ticker in him. I admire that in Shane.
When you come and you leave your home in Ireland
and come to Australia and try and set up life again, you know,
that takes a lot of character, and I think he's got spades of that.
And it was Dale who introduced Shane to the joys of body-boarding...
..the sport they were enjoying that fateful Saturday afternoon
at Lighthouse Beach.
There's a break-out off a shipwreck which is out of Watonga Rocks,
a bit further distance out.
So we paddled down that way.
They're 200 metres from shore with no-one else in the water,
and enjoying catching the waves.
It's a great spot so you want to be there,
you want to be in that bigger surf.
As he waits for a wave, Shane sees something chilling.
Fin pops up behind Dale...
Hits him from his board.
And that's when I see a big white belly, I can see the grey head,
I can see its eyeball.
A great white shark.
The shark came out of the water and I went, "Holy weavers,
"I'm in a bit of strife."
And Dale's looking at me at this point, screaming, "Get out!
And he screams before his eyeballs go white,
just massive white eyeballs looking at me, and that's when I know...
..he's being bitten.
And the teeth just went straight in, onto the thigh
and, mate, I'd never been hit so hard in my life.
I had this instant reaction to just close the right fist.
I hit across its nose,
and it was like hitting a suitcase full of concrete.
It all happens in seconds.
Shane watches in horror as his friend struggles
in the jaws of the shark.
Desperate to help, he instinctively heads towards the terrifying scene.
"What are you going to do when you get there?"
That's what I'm thinking in my head.
You've got a great white shark.
It can chew the two of us up in a second.
Only metres away, still in the shark's vice-like grip,
Dale's fighting for his life.
And I realise that the shark had actually had my whole...
My rear end and underneath the hamstring
actually caught between the board,
that the bottom teeth was actually stuck into the teeth of the board.
Frantic, Dale suddenly sees his chance -
the shark's eye is above the water.
With the right hand, finger straight into the shark's eye.
The shark convulsed, the mouth opened...
And in that instant of releasing its bite,
a big set of waves came through.
I just thought, "Hang on a second, here's my opportunity."
With an extreme effort,
Dale lunges forward and manages to catch a wave
that sweeps him back towards the shore.
He's out of the danger zone.
But Shane isn't.
And I know I've got to get the hell out of there.
But the waves have died down.
Shane is gripped with fear.
It's a terrible place be,
that not knowing when you're going to feel those teeth
sink into your legs and pull you under.
He readies himself, convinced an attack is imminent.
Let myself sink underwater and I'm looking for the great white.
But I never found him.
He paddles furiously back towards the beach.
Dale's already there.
I remember having, like, you know, cataracts vision.
Like, it was all sort of cloudy round the outside
but I knew I was still getting towards the shore.
And I saw a guy on the beach with his hand to his ear.
It's Lachlan, a local man visiting the beach with his family.
He's already on his mobile to the emergency services.
As I came to the shore, threw the board out,
I looked down and all of a sudden my shorts fell forward
and the thigh of my... Actually just flopped straight off my leg.
Dale's injury is severe.
I knew straight away that I was losing a lot of blood.
Blood was everywhere.
Shane, now at his side, tries to do what he can
as a concerned Lachlan continues his call.
At that moment, Andrew, another local resident,
runs over to join the group.
Dale was right at the water's edge.
Between us, we got him up, probably three or four metres up the beach.
I said, "You've got to stop the blood flow, stop the blood flow."
And Andrew was like, "No, no, I've got a shirt, I've got a shirt,
"no problem." So he took his shirt off.
I noticed Dale has got some shoelaces attached to his flippers.
I think, "Let's tie him up like a big Christmas ham."
The men use the shoelaces to loosely keep the shirt in place
as they apply pressure to stem the flow of blood.
With a shirt and two pairs of shoelaces,
these guys managed to bind the wound.
A woman further up the beach taking photographs
unwittingly captures the scene.
Dale is lying injured
with a now shirtless Andrew supporting his head.
Shane's out of sight, putting pressure on the wound,
while Lachlan's on the phone.
When I heard the sirens, that was a really good sound.
Yeah, ambos arriving, best thing ever.
A local man films medics arriving
and another photographs them as they treat Dale's wounds.
Shane lies next to him on the sand, trying to reassure him.
Everybody on the beach had done what they could do
and now it was up to everyone at the hospital to save my life.
Dale has lost around two and a half litres of blood,
nearly half the amount in his body.
He's rushed into intensive care.
All he can think about is his wife and two young daughters.
Would Charlotte and Samantha grow up without a father?
Would, you know, Trish be able to cope?
Quite horrific to think that I wouldn't be around.
That was quite scary.
The shark was just a millimetre away
from severing the main artery in Dale's leg.
But surgeons not only save Dale's life,
they save his leg, and everything else too.
Not many people in the world can say
that they have had their crown jewels
inside the mouth of a great white shark.
The terrifying ordeal has cemented the men's friendship for life.
We've got a really strong connection, myself and Dale.
We have been through something...
I look back on what Shane had done.
Extraordinary acts in extraordinary circumstances
defines my mate, Shane.
And I'll always be grateful.
Going to the help of your mate
who's being attacked by a great white shark -
now THAT is friendship.
It's always good to know you can depend on friends
but in this next story,
a family owe their lives to someone they've never even met.
The M40 near Leamington Spa.
A car and a van are ablaze blocking two lanes of the motorway.
Vehicles try to edge round them.
And sheltering on the hard shoulder, just behind the fire,
a family of four together with their rescuer.
If anybody had been in the car, they would have perished.
Taxi driver Imran and his family live in Spark Hill, Birmingham.
His wife and two young sons, Zayn, who's 11, and Arfan, aged three,
mean everything to their devoted dad.
I try to give maximum time for them, for my kids.
And my eldest son is very sensible, very quiet
and you can say in the sense of he's a very decent human being.
But the younger one, he's a bit naughty.
I am very sentimental, very family-orientated
because they are, for me, everything.
Originally from Pakistan, Imran has been taxi driving for four years.
He supports his family in the UK
and also sends money back home to his mum and dad.
My father, he is living ill
so he didn't see my younger son since he was born.
He said, "When are you going to bring,
"when are you going to bring the younger one?"
So, one day, I see a internet ticket and I thought, "Oh, it's cheap."
So I booked for me and for him.
But before Imran and his son can travel,
Arfan needs a passport and with little time before the planned trip,
it means a visit to the Passport Office in central London.
It's 6am on a cold January morning
as the family set off from their home in Spark Hill
for the 112-mile journey to central London.
It's one they'll never forget.
That day, we were planning to go early morning
because it was a ten o'clock appointment
and London is very busy.
My younger son, his mum was sitting in the back.
My eldest son and me, we were sitting in the front.
After an hour or so, the family hit the morning rush-hour.
They're on the M40, one of the busiest motorways in the UK,
linking the Midlands with London.
Roughly 35 miles from Birmingham,
there was a traffic build-up so obviously I have to slow down.
Another driver stuck in the commuter traffic is Kate Krowiak,
an engineer on her way to work
at the nearby Jaguar Land Rover factory.
As I went on to the M40,
the traffic was quite stop-start
so there was a lot of braking and accelerating.
Kate travels this route every day
and is used to the frustrations of tailbacks.
But, today, something catches her attention.
I checked my rear-view mirrors
and I was aware of a van in the outside lane
and I felt that he was going to struggle to stop
with the slow-moving traffic.
The car in front of the van is Imran's.
He too spots it approaching at speed from the rear.
The first thing I did, I give him a hazard light on,
thinking he's going to see there's traffic build-up,
but he didn't realise anything.
In the other lane, Kate can only watch as the inevitable happens.
I was aware that there was going to be an impact. I didn't know how big,
but I knew that the van was going to go into the car.
It does, ploughing into the back of Imran's vehicle.
That 20 seconds, I think, is the worst of my life
because when you see your whole family, basically,
for who you live life and you see, like,
there is a danger on your head,
it was something that came into my mind, "Oh, now the game is over."
The impact launches Imran's car forwards and sideways,
towards the central reservation.
Both cars skidding, skidding.
In the adjacent lane, Kate manages to stop her car just in time.
Her first thoughts are for the passengers in both vehicles.
Immediately, I thought I need to phone the emergency services
and I used the SOS button that I've got in the car.
This automatically calls an operator and gives the vehicle's location,
but Kate doesn't have time to wait for a response.
Instead, she rushes over to the crash site.
The van driver started to get out of the car.
He must be OK.
I then went to the car driver, opened the car door.
There was a family in there.
I was shocked. Obviously, I see my kids and my wife,
they were also crying and in shock and everything.
Kate's relief at finding the family conscious quickly turns to horror...
..as the situation escalates.
I was aware of the smell of burning.
And I could see smoke from the engine bay.
A fire has started only inches from the rear door of Imran's car,
where his wife and youngest son are strapped in.
The family weren't making any attempt to get out of the car -
they're clearly still in shock.
They didn't know that the car was smoking.
And she opened both doors and said,
"Out, out, there is a fire in the back."
I beckoned the boy to come out.
Mum and the small child had followed
and I could see the van driver and I could see Dad.
The family make it out just in time.
A driver, stopped on the opposite carriageway,
films as the fire takes hold.
From the moment of impact to the flames engulfing the vehicle
is just 40 seconds.
It went up with a loud bang and flames shot in the air.
Kate reports the fire and location of the crash
to the emergency services
before rounding up the shocked family and ushering them to safety.
She took my younger son. She said, "Come on the hard shoulder."
And we go there.
This footage shows them reaching the relative safety of the grass verge.
My son, he was pointing his finger.
He said, "Our car is fire, our car is fire."
My younger son, he was more panicked.
He no speak anything, totally silent.
They were watching the car burn
which they'd literally got out of seconds earlier.
If anybody had been in the car, they would have perished.
Imran notices the driver of the van that crashed into them.
He said, "I really apologise."
He saw my kids and he was sad.
I appreciate his apology.
It takes 25 minutes for the Fire Service
to fight their way through the traffic
and reach the burning vehicles.
These photographs show the moment the crews start to tackle the blaze.
By that point, both vehicles were sort of ablaze,
tyres were exploding,
thick, billowing smoke going across the motorway.
The firefighters quickly bring the blaze under control
and Imran and his family, plus the driver,
are taken to hospital by ambulance.
Heroine of the hour Kate continues with her journey to work.
In a little bit of shock
and replaying the accident over and over again
and my colleague said, "Are you OK?"
And I went, "No, not really."
Kate knows just how close Imran and his family came
to losing their lives.
I think if I'd stopped to finish the phone call
to the emergency services,
the vehicle would have been on fire.
It could've been a different story.
Imran knows who he needs to thank for their lucky escape.
She was very, very important for me and I thanked her there,
I called her later, I really appreciate it, I am really thankful.
If that lady couldn't help us
or if the door was locked then we was not maybe here.
That's all from Close Calls for today. See you next time.