Browse content similar to Episode 16. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
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...
An emergency call handler tries
to reassure two distraught little girls.
Their mum has fallen from the loft.
The 999 operator urges the children to find someone nearby to help.
They rush next door.
A neighbour takes over the call.
And two best friends are climbing when one slips and plummets onto
-the rocks below.
-For a split second,
in my head, I was like, "Am I going down to him dead here?"
Also today, a lorry driver's dashcam captures the moment another trucker
comes round a blind bend...
..on the same side of the road.
A 999 operator takes a call from a distressed eight-year-old girl.
Daisy's mum has fallen from the loft, hitting her head hard.
She's unconscious and moaning in pain.
We were all very scared.
The beautiful port city of Plymouth in Devon is home to nurse Sarah,
her husband Nick and their two daughters - Daisy, aged eight,
and Esme, who's six.
Daisy's quite sensible.
She likes her rules.
She likes to have a set order to do things.
Esme is more of a free spirit.
My little sister's six.
She's sometimes a little bit annoying, but most of the time,
-she's very nice.
-They're really good friends, yeah.
They always want to be together.
Playing games, cricket, swimming, body boarding,
and just generally having a good time.
But one summer morning in August,
the girls' teamwork is put to the test.
The family had just returned from a caravan holiday.
We'd had a great week, it had been sunny all week, playing on a beach,
playing cricket, out to the lake every night,
eating fish and chips on the beach. Fantastic holiday.
Dad Nick is at the gym,
and sisters Daisy and Esme are watching TV in the lounge.
Upstairs, mum Sarah is unpacking from the holiday.
I had to empty all the suitcases,
it was our first day back, and I'd done all the washing.
And I looked at the clock and thought,
"I have enough time to put the suitcases away in the loft.
"I won't wait for Nick to do it
"because he might not do it straightaway,"
and I like things done straightaway.
Keen to get cracking, Sarah pulls the loft ladder down
onto the landing.
We've got quite high ceilings, so it's quite a long ladder.
But it is attached to the loft,
so I felt it was quite safe to go up there.
The suitcases are empty
and Sarah successfully lifts them up the ladder.
I do remember putting them down
near to the loft hatch where they go, just to the side.
And that's where I don't remember anything else after that.
In a split second, she somehow loses her footing,
and plunges eight feet to the bottom of the ladder,
crashing onto the landing at the top of the stairs.
Below in the lounge, Daisy and Esme hear a fall.
We just heard a big bang.
And we thought, "She's probably just dropped something.
"Like, knocked off a photo frame."
The girls rush upstairs to see what's happened.
When you hear a bang, you think it's just something knocked off.
And when we saw her on the floor,
she'd obviously been the thing that made the bang.
At the top of the stairs, the sisters find their mum
sprawled on the floor groaning in pain.
She was putting her head right near the banister and she kept on doing
this - "Urgh," really loud.
It wasn't nice to see what she was doing and I was worried
that my sister was going to be very scared.
Daisy goes to her mum's side.
I checked, she was breathing and she didn't cut herself.
But when she wasn't getting up, that's when I started to think,
"What am I going to do now?"
Daisy has the presence of mind to use her mother's mobile phone
to call for help.
I tried to call my dad, but because he was in the gym,
he didn't have his phone out.
So I decided to call 999.
This is that 999 call.
When I got the phone, I was so scared that I just cried.
At the other end of the phone is emergency call handler Tracy.
You never know what call you're going to take and
total shock to have two little screaming children
at the end of the phone,
trying to calm them and find out what the situation was.
But to get help to the girls, Tracy needs to know their exact location.
Tracy must assess mum Sarah's injuries,
but the girls are clearly distressed.
One minute, they were calm and they were advising me what was going on.
The next minute, there was screaming that was so high-pitched that...
Obviously you could hear the trauma in their voices.
I could hear the mum in the background, she was groaning.
She was making like gurgling noises.
I thought that something really, really serious
had happened to Mummy.
I was really scared that she'd injured herself badly
and it would ruin part of our lives, like what we'd do again.
Tracy wants to make sure the emergency services can reach Sarah
and the girls quickly. She gives Daisy instructions.
I wanted to make sure they knew
which house they were attending, because time is paramount.
So having the front door open,
I made sure that my colleagues that were dealing with the police
knew that it would be the house with the front door open.
Anxious to calm the little girls,
Tracy suggests they try and find help nearby.
And she said to go and get our next-door neighbour.
So I got our next-door neighbour.
Next-door neighbour Annette
is a family friend who has known the girls since they were born.
I found Esme and Daisy in floods of tears, almost hysterical.
They hadn't shoes or socks on their feet,
so obviously had just run out from the house.
The 999 call picks up Daisy's
frantic explanation to her neighbour.
THEY SCREAM AND SOB
Annette rushes next door, as Tracy fills her in on the situation,
and asks for more information.
The ambulance arrives within minutes of Daisy's call.
As paramedics attend to Sarah, Annette comforts the children.
I took the girls and I sat them in the lounge and I shut the door
so they couldn't hear what was going on upstairs.
They just kept saying, "Is Mummy going to be all right?"
Upstairs, Sarah is beginning to stir.
I have a very vague memory at one point,
a paramedic leaning over me.
The ambulance crew put Sarah on a stretcher to get her downstairs.
They had to carry her down the stairs
and out the front door into the ambulance. So she had to go on
a plastic board for carrying people on.
At the same time, dad Nick is about to head home.
I came out of the gym, and as soon as I got in my car,
and saw I'd missed three calls from Sarah's phone,
I thought there's something possibly wrong.
When he arrives at the house, he finds medics about to load Sarah
into an ambulance. She's now conscious.
She was moaning in pain. And you think, you know, the worst,
that she could be paralysed.
And she was saying she couldn't feel her legs at the time.
So, it was a worry.
With Nick at her side and the girls being cared for by Annette,
Sarah's taken by ambulance to nearby Derriford Hospital.
The first thing I remember was being pushed
along a corridor on a trolley,
and I recognised the ceiling because I work in the hospital.
And I asked the person pushing me if they'd put me to sleep.
It felt like I'd just woke up.
Sarah suffered a concussion and a broken hand,
but remarkably was discharged less than 24 hours later.
The family were relieved to have her home.
My mum means a lot to me.
If I didn't have her, I don't know what I'd do.
She's fun, kind and...I just really love her.
Both Daisy and Esme were officially commended
by Devon & Cornwall Police for their actions and bravery that day.
It was a close call for Sarah.
Without the girls knowing what to do in an emergency,
who knows what could have happened?
If I'd have fallen even another few centimetres, or to the side,
I could've been paralysed or worse.
So I know how lucky I was.
I'd like to thank my little girls for saving me,
my neighbour for coming round and helping,
all the emergency services that came that day.
They did a fantastic job.
And the family now have a new set of rules to keep Mum safe.
Now, if Sarah goes in the loft,
we try to encourage her only to go in the loft whilst I'm at home.
Well, we don't allow going in the loft without an adult in the house.
Coming up later, two heavy-goods vehicles about to meet on a bend -
one's on the wrong side of the road.
The first moment I saw that wagon, I went rigid with fear.
It just looked unavoidable.
North Berwick on the east coast of Scotland.
A rock climber crashes down a 100-foot cliff face.
Hitting the rocks below, he lies motionless.
I didn't know if he was dead or alive.
The climber needs urgent medical help,
but there's no mobile phone signal.
Cousins Jamie and Jason are best mates.
Growing up in Glasgow, they were inseparable.
As kids, me and Jason were called double trouble.
We were never apart and always doing crazy stuff together,
so it was great.
He's like a brother to me. You know, he's just the same as a brother.
Always been there. Staying over every weekend.
From when we were pups up to now.
So he's just exactly like a brother.
As youngsters, they both developed a love of rock climbing.
Just as a kid, I was always looking for something to climb,
as in a tree, or when other people were wanting to go on the swings,
I was not interested in swings.
I would rather climb on the frame that the swing was on.
Climbing's just my sport.
It's just everybody's got one thing that they just absolutely love,
and rock climbing's mine.
I don't know, it's just you and the rock face.
It's just, I don't know, it's just peace and quiet,
and all you're thinking about is your next move.
You're not thinking about anything else in the world - bills, anything
like that. It's just you and the rock face, climbing. That's it.
Their close bond makes them perfect climbing partners.
Jason's smarter when it comes to safety-wise as well,
when I kind of want to push it,
but we work great as a team because of that fact, you know?
It's a bright but cold winter's day in February.
Jamie and Jason are preparing to climb a 100-metre-high sea stack
off the coast of North Berwick.
We got there. Just blown away, how beautiful it looked.
Sea stacks are naturally occurring vertical rock formations
on the coast, formed by wind and water.
It's beautiful, it's perfect.
A rock climbing wall is normally like that.
A sea stack is like that.
It's just like a big needle sticking generally out of the ocean.
And it's just perfect.
It's like a man-made wall, but in the right shape to go up.
They'd been training for this climb for months.
When you get there, it's exciting. You cannot wait to get on the face.
They rope up, ready to tackle the steep, challenging sea stack.
Jamie is lead climber, Jason is the belayer.
It's his job to keep the tension on the rope attached to Jamie.
If he doesn't, Jamie could fall,
crashing down onto the sharp, jagged shoreline.
The first route felt really good, comfortable, strong.
Apart from getting dive-bombed by seagulls, it went great.
Next, it's Jason's turn.
Once both men have successfully completed their first climb,
they opt for a tougher challenge.
We picked a harder route the second time,
round the other side of the stack, and climbed up that,
which is the more treacherous side, with less protection.
This time, Jason is first.
But it's not a climb he enjoys.
It was quite brittle and you could just, I don't know,
just something told me that something wasn't going to be right
that day. I don't know what it was, but as you were climbing,
it just felt like sand.
Undeterred by Jason's concerns, Jamie starts HIS climb.
He places special devices known as cams into the rock face
every few feet.
These spring-loaded safety hooks are designed to prevent Jamie from
falling down the cliff face if he slips or loses his grip.
I started up the route, quite comfortable, got some protection,
but once I started climbing, maybe 10-15 feet above the ground level,
that's when stuff started popping.
Jamie climbs higher up the 100-foot sea stack,
but the hooks are failing to hold to the cliff face.
Every second hold I was pulling on was just popping off
and half knocking Jason out on the way down.
So, that was the dangerous part of it,
but I kept trying to get safe as much as possible.
Jamie's now climbing with very few secure connections into the rock.
He's relying entirely on Jason and the belay to save him if he falls.
Every move he makes is risky,
but Jamie feels he doesn't have much option.
I felt safer to continue up on my strength, which is climbing up,
to get to the solid anchor, than weight the gear.
That would also mean I was trying to down-climb,
which is more dangerous than climbing.
This footage taken from Jason's helmet camera below
shows Jamie close to reaching the top of the stack.
But then, with just over a metre to go, disaster.
Jamie suddenly falls, banging into the rock,
then somersaulting and plummeting down the stack.
Unable to right himself, he crashes headfirst into the rocks below.
When I got to three quarters of the way up,
I reached out to the right-hand side, went to weight it,
and it just popped right off,
came down, and then my footing slipped off it, and then...
Down I go.
His holds have came loose, and he's actually started to come down.
Within about two seconds,
he had actually done a full backflip and went by me
and hit off the ground below me.
The video captures Jason's shouts of horror as he watches his best mate
plunging down the rock towards him.
But there's nothing he can do to help.
I actually heard the thud, it was a pretty horrific thud,
and I didn't know where...
For a split second in my head, I was like, "Am I actually going down
"to him dead here, or is he still alive?"
Cos he made a horrific noise when he hit the ground,
and then it was just silence.
Jamie is left dangling just inches from the rock floor.
He's dazed and confused.
Jason desperately tries to revive his mate.
So I'm up, trying to wake him up, and he just wouldn't come to
at first, and I didn't know if he was dead or alive.
Slowly, Jamie comes round.
Kind of sitting up and saying to myself,
"How did I get down here so fast?"
The adrenaline is still pumping.
He thinks he's escaped without injury.
First thing that came up in my mind is...
.."Everything works, I'm fine."
But then the pain kicks in
and he begins to check himself over for wounds.
My elbow's burst open and my ribs are killing me and my back's sore.
Then I start to realise the extent and then I hear...
..the fear and how scared Jason is, cos he's seen it all.
Jason knows Jamie needs urgent medical attention,
but he can't get a mobile phone signal.
They must get back to their car so Jason can drive Jamie to hospital.
But the vehicle is parked more than two miles away.
They're going to have to walk.
The journey seemed to take forever. It was a scramble just to get
up onto the moorland, and then it maybe took 20 minutes,
where it would normally have taken me...five to get up to the top.
Then it's over fields and over fences.
In pain and still in shock, Jamie quickly starts to tire.
Just trying to keep him awake and keep him perked up
to try and get back to the car.
Eventually, they make it to the car and Jason drives Jamie
straight to Edinburgh Hospital.
An MRI scan shows Jamie hasn't damaged his spine,
but he does have a broken elbow, a broken leg
and numerous cuts and bruises.
They also discover just how close he was to breaking his neck.
When I was falling, the rope must have wrapped round my neck
and caused a big cut right down my neck,
which has left me with that big scar down the back of my neck
and onto my chest.
The accident hasn't put Jamie off his favourite pursuit.
A couple of months later, he's back climbing,
although with SOME trepidation.
The first climb since the accident was indoors.
I felt pretty comfortable going up, but since the accident,
it was coming back down again, kind of flashbacks would happen.
That was the hardest part, coming back down.
Jason has noticed a change in his cousin's attitude
-to the sport they both love.
-Jamie's more calculated in his climb now.
He's not taking as much risks, probably,
and obviously it's still in the back of his head what happened,
just how quickly it can happen and we managed to escape this time,
just with a bit of luck.
I definitely think that day, somebody was watching over me.
I was lucky.
Jamie now has a permanent reminder
of just how close he came to disaster.
I got a monument tattoo of the sea stack,
and the Grim Reaper is sitting at the bottom of the sea stack,
ready for me.
But that day, he didn't quite get me.
We often feature stories from Britain's roads,
but this next one from Wales might make you jump a bit.
And you'll understand how the driver who filmed it felt.
The A40 near Llandovery in Wales.
A dashcam films the view from the driving seat of a 40-tonne truck.
It's approaching a bend.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, another lorry appears.
It's on the wrong side of the road.
They're about to meet head-on.
Chris Sherburne, from Selby in Yorkshire,
drives an HGV for a living, a job he instantly fell in love with
the first time he sat behind the wheel.
I like being your own boss.
I enjoy the challenge and the variations of places that we go to.
But there is one downside to all the travelling.
It takes him away from his family for long periods of time.
He has two daughters, a son and two grandchildren.
They're all grown up now and left home, and they mean the world to me,
these three kids and the grandchildren.
Chris is a former soldier, another job that involved
a lot of travelling.
I served with the Royal Engineers and served in countries like Kenya,
Germany and Northern Ireland.
When he does have free time,
his passion is to get straight back on the road.
On two wheels.
I love the open road, the freedom,
the camaraderie with fellow bikers, and, yeah,
we're all on each other's same wavelengths.
Chris has put plenty of miles under his belt
with both forms of transport,
but he's never been involved in a serious road accident.
He puts this down to some advice from his dad.
I remember me dad saying once, "Always expect the unexpected,"
and it's helped me a lot, actually.
It's a sunny spring day in April.
Chris is at the wheel of his 40-tonne lorry,
and has just finished making a delivery in South Wales.
He's now heading 50 miles east to Abergavenny.
It was a beautiful day. I was enjoying
the scenery and the nice weather.
The roads were quiet as well so, yeah,
it was made out to be a nice run.
The camera in his cab gives Chris's view of the road ahead,
as he travels along at a steady 40mph
on the A40 in Carmarthenshire -
a road he knows well.
I have been on this road numerous times.
We do a lot of work down in Wales.
But as he comes to a bend in the road, this is what he sees.
Within two and a half seconds, I'd gone from 40 to 0.
The enormous 40-tonne lorry hurtles towards him.
The first moment I saw that wagon coming round that bend,
I went rigid with fear and my foot went rigidly on that pedal,
the middle pedal. It just looked unavoidable.
The other lorry swerves to the left
as Chris hurls his vehicle towards the bank.
It's such a narrow road.
There was no veering off, hardly, I could do.
So I had to rely on braking, my instincts,
and also his instincts as well.
You've got two 40-tonne wagons doing 40mph towards each other,
and meeting on a blind bend. It's quite scary, actually.
QUITE scary! Miraculously,
the two lorries narrowly miss a potentially fatal head-on collision.
I did think, at one point, my days were up.
He pulled to his left and I pulled to my left.
We JUST missed each other.
And he carried on, on his way, and I've not seen him since.
Chris is in shock and stops his lorry at the first opportunity.
How we never made contact is unbelievable.
If we'd have had an actual collision,
I wouldn't have been here. It'd have killed me.
And Chris is convinced those wise words from his father
kept him safe once again.
I think my dad was sat with me that day.
Always expect the unexpected.
Didn't expect that.
Now, that WAS a close call.
It's unbelievable those two lorries didn't collide head-on.
See you next time.