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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 tyre blowout on a motorway
causes a car to rebound violently off the central reservation.
The car was completely out of control.
The driver is sent flying through the windscreen,
landing in the middle of the motorway.
Other motorists are stunned.
And then was left on the road, I did actually think the worst.
And a canal boat sinks beneath the water, a woman is left on deck.
There wasn't much time, we had seconds.
My partner said, you'd better grab her.
a new dad cycling home from work enters a roundabout
but a driver doesn't see him.
The M20 near Crawley, West Sussex.
A lorry driver's dash cam captures a small car
travelling at 70mph in the fast lane.
A split-second later a tyre blowout
sends it careering into the crash barrier.
It rebounds, somersaulting across the carriageway.
The car's driver is flung from the vehicle
right into the path of oncoming traffic.
Another trucker rushes to his aid.
I actually didn't think he was alive, to be quite honest.
I did actually think the worst.
Telecommunications worker Saqib lives with his parents
in Crawley, Sussex, along with his brother and sister.
They're a close family.
I'm not really somebody who is always going out,
always trying to get out of the house, I'm more a home person,
I like going to work, coming home, having family around.
As long as there is food around, it's always good.
But 22-year-old Saqib's aiming to fly the nest soon,
he and his girlfriend have big plans.
Hopefully this year I will be getting married,
that's my main focus,
I want to get just settled down now and then kind of build my life from here.
That means saving his cash,
so keen driver Saqib sacrifices a much-loved car and downsizes.
Love the cars, my wallet doesn't agree, so...
I had a BMW 1 series, I sold that,
and I thought, OK, my street cred might go down
but I'll get a small car and I can save a lot of money.
Saqib's doing all he can to build a bright future,
but one split-second on the road threatens to end everything.
It's a cold Friday morning in January,
Saqib has the day off work and decides to make the most of it.
My missus works in Gatwick, I was going to get her, we were
going to go from there to go to London and just have a nice day out.
Saqib is five minutes into his journey driving along the M23 towards Gatwick.
He comes up behind two lorries side-by-side,
one's in the slow lane, the other's in the middle lane.
I don't like being behind lorries because of the size of my car
so I went into the overtaking lane.
One of the lorry drivers has a dashboard camera,
his footage shows Saqib's small car now ahead of him in the fast lane.
But what it records next is truly shocking.
One of Saqib's rear tyres blows.
Losing control, he swerves towards the central reservation.
I was thinking, OK, I'm going to hit somebody,
I'm going to go over the central reservation and hit into
oncoming traffic, what if there's a child in the car, what if
there's a family travelling, so all I did was just read a prayer.
This is what follows.
After the tyre blow out, Saqib's car smashes into the central
crash barrier and rebounds, somersaulting across the road.
A quick-thinking truck driver takes evasive action,
pulling onto the hard shoulder.
Saqib's car only just misses the lorry crashing down behind him.
But Saqib is thrown from his vehicle.
He lies motionless on the tarmac, his head in the middle lane.
The lorry driver with the camera reacts in horror.
He pulls up in time as another car passes by in the fast lane.
Other drivers behind come to a halt.
Another trucker, Rich, sees the whole crash from high up in his cab.
The car was completely out of control, as it was rolling.
I saw the lad fly out of the driver's side window
and then lay lifeless in the road.
It was the way he got thrown from the vehicle was pretty horrific.
The camera shows Rich rushing to help Saqib
but he's afraid of what he might find.
I actually didn't think he was alive, to be quite honest,
I thought, I did actually think the worst.
Even if he was alive, I didn't think there'd be much,
of his face left, to be quite honest.
The camera cuts out just before Rich reaches Saqib
but as he gets close he realises the young man is still breathing.
It was definitely a relief to see that he was conscious
cos he made groans.
His eye was completely shut, more or less completely shut
and he had quite bad lacerations around here.
There was quite a bit of blood on the road.
Saqib is conscious and tries to move.
He did try getting up, actually,
but I sort of forced him to stay down cos I definitely thought
he'd have serious head injuries, 100%.
He did say that his legs were hurting him
and then I think he went into a bit of shock cos he was shaking quite a lot.
That's when we obviously got more, more warm clothing
to cover him up with until proper help got there.
Paramedics arrive quickly and get Saqib off the road
and into an ambulance. He's alert but confused.
I was asking the paramedics, was there anybody else involved?
Because all I remember is the car spinning towards the central reservation.
It was reassuring when they said to me nobody was involved.
He could have serious internal injuries so the ambulance crew
rush him to the major emergency department
at St George's Hospital, London.
Throughout the journey the pain in his legs remains.
I was thinking, OK, if I have broken my legs,
kind of how is my life going to be?
Because I'm quite active, I play a lot of sports,
it would have had a big impact on my life, but once I'd kind of
got to the hospital and calmed down and understood what happened
I think I was just thankful to actually still be alive.
Astonishingly, apart from concussion and obvious cuts and grazes,
doctors discover Saqib has no serious injuries.
I had bumps, bruises, cuts everywhere,
I think my right leg was very sore but, to be honest, I'm not
somebody that will complain because of how worse it could have been.
But his family and girlfriend are shocked when they see him.
All of my family, it was quite hard to kind of take it in
cos I'm quite bubbly and I'm always up and laughing and joking about,
to see me like that was quite, I think, hard for them.
Some weeks later, apart from pain in his legs,
Saqib's other injuries have healed.
He still can't remember the accident clearly,
but watching the lorry driver's footage, he sees the full horror.
When I look at it, it's almost as if you're in...
I'm in disbelief that I'm actually watching it, I think,
that's the biggest thing.
I think when I'm watching it, I'm sitting here and I'm thinking, OK,
that's not me, that's somebody else.
Saqib can't understand how he came to be thrown from the vehicle.
My general routine is putting my seat belt on and driving off.
I feel like it's a big thing to wear your belt, but on that day
I don't know if I had it on or not cos I don't remember the journey.
After watching the video of his accident,
Saqib contacted lorry driver Rich to thank him for his help.
It was a good feeling to know he was actually all right,
I don't actually understand how he is still here, to be quite honest,
but it is remarkable that he's alive and just with scratches.
Saqib's accident has given him a fresh perspective on life.
It's quite amazing that I'm here.
This accident shows you don't know if tomorrow's guaranteed,
so just live life to the fullest,
I think that's the biggest thing to do.
Obviously, getting married as well, hopefully this year, so, yeah,
it's got me in the right mind-set.
Coming up... a couple on an evening stroll
rush to the aid of a cyclist hit by a car at a roundabout.
It was really shocking. There's a bit of a chill goes through you
cos you start to think, well, how badly is he hurt?
The Kennet & Avon Canal, near Reading, Berkshire.
A narrow boat navigating a lock begins to sink
but a woman is still on deck.
The lady was on the boat, shouting across that the water was coming in.
You could hear the panic in her voice.
There's nothing you can do.
Engineer Martin and his wife Penny were teenage sweethearts.
They got together nearly 50 years ago in Portsmouth.
We met through friends.
Wasn't meant to happen but then this is how things work, isn't it?
I don't think she'd planned to see me the second night,
but I was driving along and come across her standing at a bus stop
and stopped to offer her a lift and it went from there.
It was obviously meant to be.
She's my soul mate, really.
When the couple retired, they decided to indulge
their shared passion for boating on the canal
near where they now live in Basingstoke.
They went on to buy their very own narrow boat, the Lady Jane,
built in the 1970s.
We had to strip it out, rebuild it, but it was a work of love
because it was something that we were both enjoying.
I spent a couple of years restoring it and working on it.
But once we got it going, it was an absolutely beautiful boat.
Martin and Penny fell in love with life aboard the Lady Jane.
Any opportunity we could, we would take it out.
The countryside, the quiet.
Just the still water, it was lovely. It was lovely.
It was a really laid-back, relaxing, wonderful existence.
And they're grateful to the Lady Jane
when Martin is told to take it easy after major stomach surgery.
It gives them the opportunity to take a relaxing break on the nearby Kennet & Avon Canal.
We thought, you know, this would do him the world of good.
We were on the up so we went out on the boat.
The two-week trip is everything they hoped for.
That is until the very last day.
It's a beautiful summer's afternoon, as Martin and Penny
enjoy a leisurely cruise back to their home mooring at Reading.
Everything was fine. We were coming up to Fobney Lock,
that's a lock we'd passed through many times before.
Locks are used to raise and lower boats to different water levels along the canal.
The couple need to rise five metres to access the homeward stretch of water.
I got off the boat, Penny stayed on the boat.
Everything was fine.
We were just coming to the top and so therefore
Martin would have been opening the gates.
Penny stands on the back of the boat as the waters raise it up
but suddenly she realises the water isn't only pouring into the lock.
There was water round my ankles.
It was just pouring in.
Panic stricken, she calls to her husband.
I heard Penny shout, "There's water coming in, there's water coming in, the boat's sinking."
I didn't understand what had gone wrong but I could see the boat had started listing.
Water is completely flooding the boat.
Still on the rear deck, Penny's going down with it.
I've had operations on my arms.
If I'd have got in that water, I would have had trouble getting out.
By then, she was in total panic.
Absolute fright and fear...
..and I did scream.
Martin on the opposite side of the lock is powerless to help his wife,
but Penny's screams have alerted Nadine and her partner Danny,
out for an afternoon stroll.
The lady was on the boat, shouting across that the water was coming in.
You could hear the panic in her voice.
You know a boat sits nice in the water. This weren't sitting.
It was sitting too heavy at the back and the front was rising.
The couple know they must help.
There wasn't much time. We had seconds.
My partner said, you'd better grab her.
Danny acts, running quickly to the side of the lock.
My arms up, just shouting, "Get me off, get me off!"
I had to go full reach,
and use all of my might to pull her to safety.
I was just gone.
And it was quite a height.
Just as Danny pulls Penny onto the side of the lock,
an onlooker begins to film, using a mobile phone.
Penny can be seen on the floor, still holding on to the boat's rope,
Danny in the striped shirt is beside her,
Martin has just reached them.
Relieved Penny is safe, but seeing their beloved boat sinking fast,
Martin runs to the lock gates to try and lower the water level.
Danny heads to the other end but both know it's futile.
There's nothing you can do.
I was holding on to this rope,
and I was just thinking, what am I doing?
What am I doing? And our lovely boat was just going down.
The boat vanishes to the bottom of the five metre lock in less than 25 seconds.
Had Penny still been on board,
she risked being trapped under the rear cover.
To know how close we had come to possibly being a disaster was unbelievable.
Penny is safe but all the couple's belongings
and two years of loving restoration work are at the bottom of the canal.
It takes several days before the Lady Jane can be recovered
by the river canal rescue team, led by Pete Barnett.
When we got to Fobney Lock and we saw that the boat was completely submerged,
we knew it was going to be a long day because we have to seal that
boat completely up before we can get any pumps in it to get it raised up.
They cover the boat with a large tarpaulin,
then pump the water out from inside the hull.
Once you start pumping, it draws the sheet in and seals all the holes,
and then you can get the water out.
Once you pass that buoyancy point,
Archimedes rule, she'll float on top.
The team discover what caused the Lady Jane to sink.
A propeller inspection hatch, known as a weed hatch,
at the rear of the boat has become dislodged,
allowing the water to flood in.
When she's brought to the surface, the Lady Jane is a total write-off.
Very distressing, seeing the boat in the state she was
cos I'd spent all that time and effort of restoring the boat over
the last two years and I knew I never had the heart to do it again.
But the couple know the most important thing is they still have each other.
I could have lost my wife...
..obviously, and that would have totally ruined my life forever.
My heartfelt thanks go out to Danny.
Without him, I don't like to think what would have happened,
it would have been a different story.
People at work saying, oh, you're a hero and that
but I just don't see it like that. I just see me being there
at the right time and just managed to help her.
He was wonderful. He was wonderful.
Penny owed her life to a complete stranger that day
and when things go wrong it's often a passer-by who's the first
to pitch in and help, as we're about to see.
St Neots, Cambridgeshire.
A cyclist on his daily commute home from work.
He's on a deadline -
he wants to be home to put his young son to bed.
He approaches a roundabout, he's just five minutes from home.
His helmet camera captures what happens next.
I opened the door and a lady said "I'm an off-duty police officer,
"I've been with your husband. I think it's best if you come with me."
Software support specialist Alistair is a keen cyclist.
I started cycling mainly as a means to actually get to work
and it just sort of turned into a hobby and I started doing
a couple of events, things like the London to Brighton bike ride.
I've done that four or five times now, I think.
Pushing the pedals has come with added benefits too.
Five or six years ago, I was sort of about 17 or 18st
and I had some blood pressure issues and things like that.
And Alistair has a very good reason for wanting to keep fit and well.
His family. He and wife Kelly have been together for nine years.
We met when she was studying for her degree at De Montford University.
The Batman outfit Alistair wore that night instantly caught Kelly's eye.
He thinks he's very funny.
I suppose that's one of the things that attracted me to him.
He is funny, really. Just don't tell him.
Four years later, they were married,
and now have an 18-month-old son, Travis.
He's a really good dad.
It's lovely to see him with Travis. They spend a lot of time together.
When he's not at home with his family, Alistair's at work.
He cycles to his office, just over ten miles away,
and enjoys the commute,
but Kelly isn't so keen on her husband's daily mode of transport.
I worry about him every time he leaves the house on his bike.
To help ease Kelly's worries,
Alistair invests in a new bit of kit.
I wear a helmet cam for safety, primarily.
But secondly, where it's visible,
I find it's actually a deterrent as well.
I think I've had less occasions where I've wished I'd had
a camera since actually I've had it because it can be seen
and I can be seen to be wearing it.
But even with the helmet camera, Kelly isn't reassured.
There's a lot of crazy people out there,
drivers don't have the patience, so they don't want to wait.
To lessen Kelly's concerns, the couple come up with a plan.
They install a clever app on their smartphones
so Kelly can track her husband's cycle route to and from work.
So we just press the home button and I say, "Where's my husband?"
And he says, "Where's my wife?"
It's mainly I do it when he's riding his bike,
and he sets a notification to tell me when he gets to work.
It's a warm summer's evening in August.
Alastair lets Kelly know he's on his way home.
He's taking his normal route along the A1, turning off at Barford.
It's about 45 minutes, door to door.
It was pretty much an ordinary day.
Sort of unlocked my bike from work and just basically set off.
Also out and about that pleasant summer's evening are local couple
Paul and Sue going for a stroll.
We set off on one of our usual routes, heading out of the estate,
and we were going to cross the main road, down by the river,
do a loop around and then come back again.
As they begin their trip, Alistair is close to finishing his.
I was pretty much home.
It was the last roundabout that I have to go across on the main road.
At home, Kelly checks her phone to see where Alistair is.
It's nearly bedtime for their young son, Travis.
I tried to wait cos he does like to see Daddy
and Daddy likes to see Travis before he goes to bed.
On the last leg of his journey, and just minutes from home,
Alistair approaches the last roundabout.
His head cam records every second.
I signalled to turn right...
..waited for a couple of cars, one that was in front of me
and then there was another car that came round as well,
and I waited for that. I then joined the traffic behind that car,
going round the roundabout.
But he doesn't see the car coming at speed straight towards him
from the exit ahead.
All I'd heard was the wheels screeching on the ground.
Alistair's camera captures the moment the car takes his bike from underneath him.
And then I felt the impact and then I just flew.
HE BREATHES HEAVILY
His gasps for breath are audible as he struggles to understand
what's just happened.
I remember thinking, I want to get home, I want to see my wife,
I want to see my son, I want to put him to bed, I want to you know...
..sort of be a dad.
Paul and Sue reach the roundabout just as the accident happens.
The head cam footage shows them approaching the junction on foot.
It was almost in slow motion, really.
As he came round, suddenly there was this car and a screech of brakes
and the poor chap was in the road.
It was really shocking and you know,
your heart starts pumping and, you know,
there's a bit of a chill goes through you
because you start to think, how badly is he hurt?
I hit the ground pretty hard.
My first thought was, have I lost a leg or something?
Is everything still there? And it kind of was.
And then the pain in my legs,
where my bike had hit my legs, came through.
And I remember just rolling over and then lying back and putting my head
on the ground and going, "Oh!"
Paul and Sue know they need to help.
I immediately ran forward to see if he was all right
and to make sure he didn't move at all.
Stay there, mate. Don't try and get up. All right.
Just lay there.
There was obviously something wrong because he wasn't getting up.
We both stood by Alistair just to try and alert the traffic that
was coming and I'd got my mobile out and called the ambulance.
How old are you?
As Alistair lies injured in the road, at home, Kelly,
unaware of the accident, checks her phone once more.
Being an anxious wife,
I looked again because it should only take in five minutes to get from there
and he still wasn't home, he was still in the same place.
Barely half a mile away,
Alistair is slowly beginning to regain his senses.
The next thing sort of I saw was a guy sort of standing over me.
I approached him and impressed upon him to
just to stay still for a moment
to ascertain if he'd been badly injured.
My first thought was,
can he see something that I can't see that's wrong?
That was a bit frightening for me.
But as luck would have it,
two other people have seen the commotion
and they are both off-duty police officers.
I'm a police officer, that's why I've stopped. OK?
I'm not going to move you.
Someone's called an ambulance. What's your name?
-Alistair. OK. What's hurting? Your back?
One of the officers does a quick basic medical check.
Grab your toes.
Yeah, I can feel that.
That's all fine, yeah.
-How about bending your leg up?
-Leg all right?
Yeah, that's fine.
There are no obvious serious injuries
and with busy traffic still flowing past,
it's decided to move Alistair to the safety of the pavement.
How are you doing? Don't go too quick. Don't go too quick.
With an ambulance on its way,
one of the police officers heads to the family home.
I opened the door and a really nice lady said,
"I'm an off-duty police officer.
"I've been with your husband, he's fine, he's alert, he's talking.
"We've moved him off the road,
"but I think it's best if you come with me."
Kelly's worst fears have come true.
Now she knows why the phone app showed Alistair was stationary.
She grabs baby Travis and rushes to be at her husband's side.
I was shaking and nervous and worried
and then when I actually saw him, it was a big relief.
And I tried to hold it together for him, I didn't want to upset him.
But quite emotional, so...
She has an acute sense of what she might have lost.
Love of my life.
Father of our child and...
With Kelly and Travis at his side,
Alistair begins to realise just how lucky he's been.
I kind of did a body check,
just sort of started looking at things like my arm and my hands
and I realised that I had some sort of quite bad sort of road rash
on my knuckles and my arm.
And that's where the pain was.
Kelly spots the driver who hit him.
He's obviously really upset by what had happened.
He was shaking, so I just went and said to him that, you know, he's OK.
Later, the motorist agreed to go on a driver's awareness course
but wasn't prosecuted.
After his amazing escape, Alistair heads home with his family.
It was just nice having a cuddle
and just makes you realise how lucky you are.
It could have been very different.
Don't even want to think about how different.
It was all about transport today.
We had the lot - cars, bikes, and boats.
But, thankfully, everyone came through.
See you next time on Close Calls.