Episode 2 Close Calls: On Camera


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Episode 2

Nick Knowles presents close calls caught on film. A man is thrown from his vehicle and lands in the middle of a busy motorway after a tyre blowout in the fast lane.


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A close call. A moment of danger when life can hang in the balance.

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I could die here, this is really serious.

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A split second where the outcome could go either way.

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Right, call 999 now.

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The difference between disaster and survival.

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You could see it on the faces of the crew,

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how life-threatening this was.

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Why would you need to swim?

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Apparently, they're supposed to still be on a boat.

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These are the people that have been there and lived to tell the tale.

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I thought she had died.

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It's a day they'll never forget,

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the day they had a close call.

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Today on Close Calls...

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a tyre blowout on a motorway

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causes a car to rebound violently off the central reservation.

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The car was completely out of control.

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The driver is sent flying through the windscreen,

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landing in the middle of the motorway.

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Other motorists are stunned.

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And then was left on the road, I did actually think the worst.

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And a canal boat sinks beneath the water, a woman is left on deck.

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There wasn't much time, we had seconds.

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My partner said, you'd better grab her.

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Also today,

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a new dad cycling home from work enters a roundabout

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but a driver doesn't see him.

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The M20 near Crawley, West Sussex.

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A lorry driver's dash cam captures a small car

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travelling at 70mph in the fast lane.

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A split-second later a tyre blowout

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sends it careering into the crash barrier.

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-Oh,

-BLEEP!

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It rebounds, somersaulting across the carriageway.

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The car's driver is flung from the vehicle

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right into the path of oncoming traffic.

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Another trucker rushes to his aid.

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I actually didn't think he was alive, to be quite honest.

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I did actually think the worst.

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Telecommunications worker Saqib lives with his parents

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in Crawley, Sussex, along with his brother and sister.

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They're a close family.

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I'm not really somebody who is always going out,

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always trying to get out of the house, I'm more a home person,

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I like going to work, coming home, having family around.

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As long as there is food around, it's always good.

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But 22-year-old Saqib's aiming to fly the nest soon,

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he and his girlfriend have big plans.

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Hopefully this year I will be getting married,

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that's my main focus,

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I want to get just settled down now and then kind of build my life from here.

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That means saving his cash,

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so keen driver Saqib sacrifices a much-loved car and downsizes.

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Love the cars, my wallet doesn't agree, so...

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I had a BMW 1 series, I sold that,

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and I thought, OK, my street cred might go down

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but I'll get a small car and I can save a lot of money.

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Saqib's doing all he can to build a bright future,

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but one split-second on the road threatens to end everything.

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It's a cold Friday morning in January,

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Saqib has the day off work and decides to make the most of it.

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My missus works in Gatwick, I was going to get her, we were

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going to go from there to go to London and just have a nice day out.

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Saqib is five minutes into his journey driving along the M23 towards Gatwick.

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He comes up behind two lorries side-by-side,

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one's in the slow lane, the other's in the middle lane.

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I don't like being behind lorries because of the size of my car

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so I went into the overtaking lane.

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One of the lorry drivers has a dashboard camera,

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his footage shows Saqib's small car now ahead of him in the fast lane.

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But what it records next is truly shocking.

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One of Saqib's rear tyres blows.

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Losing control, he swerves towards the central reservation.

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I was thinking, OK, I'm going to hit somebody,

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I'm going to go over the central reservation and hit into

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oncoming traffic, what if there's a child in the car, what if

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there's a family travelling, so all I did was just read a prayer.

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This is what follows.

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-Oh,

-BLEEP!

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After the tyre blow out, Saqib's car smashes into the central

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crash barrier and rebounds, somersaulting across the road.

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A quick-thinking truck driver takes evasive action,

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pulling onto the hard shoulder.

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Saqib's car only just misses the lorry crashing down behind him.

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But Saqib is thrown from his vehicle.

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He lies motionless on the tarmac, his head in the middle lane.

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The lorry driver with the camera reacts in horror.

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-Oh,

-BLEEP!

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He pulls up in time as another car passes by in the fast lane.

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Other drivers behind come to a halt.

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Another trucker, Rich, sees the whole crash from high up in his cab.

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The car was completely out of control, as it was rolling.

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I saw the lad fly out of the driver's side window

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and then lay lifeless in the road.

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It was the way he got thrown from the vehicle was pretty horrific.

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The camera shows Rich rushing to help Saqib

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but he's afraid of what he might find.

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I actually didn't think he was alive, to be quite honest,

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I thought, I did actually think the worst.

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Even if he was alive, I didn't think there'd be much,

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of his face left, to be quite honest.

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The camera cuts out just before Rich reaches Saqib

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but as he gets close he realises the young man is still breathing.

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It was definitely a relief to see that he was conscious

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cos he made groans.

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His eye was completely shut, more or less completely shut

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and he had quite bad lacerations around here.

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There was quite a bit of blood on the road.

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Saqib is conscious and tries to move.

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He did try getting up, actually,

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but I sort of forced him to stay down cos I definitely thought

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he'd have serious head injuries, 100%.

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He did say that his legs were hurting him

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and then I think he went into a bit of shock cos he was shaking quite a lot.

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That's when we obviously got more, more warm clothing

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to cover him up with until proper help got there.

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Paramedics arrive quickly and get Saqib off the road

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and into an ambulance. He's alert but confused.

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I was asking the paramedics, was there anybody else involved?

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Because all I remember is the car spinning towards the central reservation.

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It was reassuring when they said to me nobody was involved.

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He could have serious internal injuries so the ambulance crew

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rush him to the major emergency department

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at St George's Hospital, London.

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Throughout the journey the pain in his legs remains.

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I was thinking, OK, if I have broken my legs,

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kind of how is my life going to be?

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Because I'm quite active, I play a lot of sports,

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it would have had a big impact on my life, but once I'd kind of

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got to the hospital and calmed down and understood what happened

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I think I was just thankful to actually still be alive.

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Astonishingly, apart from concussion and obvious cuts and grazes,

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doctors discover Saqib has no serious injuries.

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I had bumps, bruises, cuts everywhere,

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I think my right leg was very sore but, to be honest, I'm not

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somebody that will complain because of how worse it could have been.

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But his family and girlfriend are shocked when they see him.

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All of my family, it was quite hard to kind of take it in

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cos I'm quite bubbly and I'm always up and laughing and joking about,

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to see me like that was quite, I think, hard for them.

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Some weeks later, apart from pain in his legs,

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Saqib's other injuries have healed.

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He still can't remember the accident clearly,

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but watching the lorry driver's footage, he sees the full horror.

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When I look at it, it's almost as if you're in...

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I'm in disbelief that I'm actually watching it, I think,

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that's the biggest thing.

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I think when I'm watching it, I'm sitting here and I'm thinking, OK,

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that's not me, that's somebody else.

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-Oh,

-BLEEP!

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Saqib can't understand how he came to be thrown from the vehicle.

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My general routine is putting my seat belt on and driving off.

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I feel like it's a big thing to wear your belt, but on that day

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I don't know if I had it on or not cos I don't remember the journey.

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After watching the video of his accident,

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Saqib contacted lorry driver Rich to thank him for his help.

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It was a good feeling to know he was actually all right,

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I don't actually understand how he is still here, to be quite honest,

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but it is remarkable that he's alive and just with scratches.

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Saqib's accident has given him a fresh perspective on life.

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It's quite amazing that I'm here.

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This accident shows you don't know if tomorrow's guaranteed,

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so just live life to the fullest,

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I think that's the biggest thing to do.

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Obviously, getting married as well, hopefully this year, so, yeah,

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it's got me in the right mind-set.

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Coming up... a couple on an evening stroll

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rush to the aid of a cyclist hit by a car at a roundabout.

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It was really shocking. There's a bit of a chill goes through you

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cos you start to think, well, how badly is he hurt?

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The Kennet & Avon Canal, near Reading, Berkshire.

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A narrow boat navigating a lock begins to sink

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but a woman is still on deck.

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The lady was on the boat, shouting across that the water was coming in.

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You could hear the panic in her voice.

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There's nothing you can do.

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Engineer Martin and his wife Penny were teenage sweethearts.

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They got together nearly 50 years ago in Portsmouth.

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We met through friends.

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Wasn't meant to happen but then this is how things work, isn't it?

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I don't think she'd planned to see me the second night,

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but I was driving along and come across her standing at a bus stop

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and stopped to offer her a lift and it went from there.

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It was obviously meant to be.

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She's my soul mate, really.

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When the couple retired, they decided to indulge

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their shared passion for boating on the canal

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near where they now live in Basingstoke.

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They went on to buy their very own narrow boat, the Lady Jane,

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built in the 1970s.

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We had to strip it out, rebuild it, but it was a work of love

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because it was something that we were both enjoying.

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I spent a couple of years restoring it and working on it.

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But once we got it going, it was an absolutely beautiful boat.

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Beautiful boat.

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Martin and Penny fell in love with life aboard the Lady Jane.

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Any opportunity we could, we would take it out.

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The countryside, the quiet.

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Just the still water, it was lovely. It was lovely.

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It was a really laid-back, relaxing, wonderful existence.

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And they're grateful to the Lady Jane

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when Martin is told to take it easy after major stomach surgery.

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It gives them the opportunity to take a relaxing break on the nearby Kennet & Avon Canal.

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We thought, you know, this would do him the world of good.

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We were on the up so we went out on the boat.

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The two-week trip is everything they hoped for.

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That is until the very last day.

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It's a beautiful summer's afternoon, as Martin and Penny

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enjoy a leisurely cruise back to their home mooring at Reading.

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Everything was fine. We were coming up to Fobney Lock,

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that's a lock we'd passed through many times before.

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Locks are used to raise and lower boats to different water levels along the canal.

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The couple need to rise five metres to access the homeward stretch of water.

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I got off the boat, Penny stayed on the boat.

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Everything was fine.

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We were just coming to the top and so therefore

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Martin would have been opening the gates.

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Penny stands on the back of the boat as the waters raise it up

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but suddenly she realises the water isn't only pouring into the lock.

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There was water round my ankles.

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It was just pouring in.

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Panic stricken, she calls to her husband.

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I heard Penny shout, "There's water coming in, there's water coming in, the boat's sinking."

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I didn't understand what had gone wrong but I could see the boat had started listing.

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Water is completely flooding the boat.

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Still on the rear deck, Penny's going down with it.

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I've had operations on my arms.

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If I'd have got in that water, I would have had trouble getting out.

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By then, she was in total panic.

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Absolute fright and fear...

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..and I did scream.

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Martin on the opposite side of the lock is powerless to help his wife,

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but Penny's screams have alerted Nadine and her partner Danny,

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out for an afternoon stroll.

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The lady was on the boat, shouting across that the water was coming in.

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You could hear the panic in her voice.

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You know a boat sits nice in the water. This weren't sitting.

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It was sitting too heavy at the back and the front was rising.

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The couple know they must help.

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There wasn't much time. We had seconds.

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My partner said, you'd better grab her.

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Danny acts, running quickly to the side of the lock.

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My arms up, just shouting, "Get me off, get me off!"

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I had to go full reach,

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and use all of my might to pull her to safety.

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I was just gone.

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And it was quite a height.

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Just as Danny pulls Penny onto the side of the lock,

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an onlooker begins to film, using a mobile phone.

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Penny can be seen on the floor, still holding on to the boat's rope,

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Danny in the striped shirt is beside her,

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Martin has just reached them.

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Relieved Penny is safe, but seeing their beloved boat sinking fast,

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Martin runs to the lock gates to try and lower the water level.

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Danny heads to the other end but both know it's futile.

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There's nothing you can do.

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I was holding on to this rope,

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and I was just thinking, what am I doing?

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What am I doing? And our lovely boat was just going down.

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You know.

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The boat vanishes to the bottom of the five metre lock in less than 25 seconds.

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Had Penny still been on board,

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she risked being trapped under the rear cover.

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To know how close we had come to possibly being a disaster was unbelievable.

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Penny is safe but all the couple's belongings

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and two years of loving restoration work are at the bottom of the canal.

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It takes several days before the Lady Jane can be recovered

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by the river canal rescue team, led by Pete Barnett.

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When we got to Fobney Lock and we saw that the boat was completely submerged,

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we knew it was going to be a long day because we have to seal that

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boat completely up before we can get any pumps in it to get it raised up.

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They cover the boat with a large tarpaulin,

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then pump the water out from inside the hull.

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Once you start pumping, it draws the sheet in and seals all the holes,

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and then you can get the water out.

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Once you pass that buoyancy point,

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Archimedes rule, she'll float on top.

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The team discover what caused the Lady Jane to sink.

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A propeller inspection hatch, known as a weed hatch,

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at the rear of the boat has become dislodged,

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allowing the water to flood in.

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When she's brought to the surface, the Lady Jane is a total write-off.

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Very distressing, seeing the boat in the state she was

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cos I'd spent all that time and effort of restoring the boat over

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the last two years and I knew I never had the heart to do it again.

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But the couple know the most important thing is they still have each other.

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I could have lost my wife...

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..obviously, and that would have totally ruined my life forever.

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My heartfelt thanks go out to Danny.

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Without him, I don't like to think what would have happened,

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it would have been a different story.

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People at work saying, oh, you're a hero and that

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but I just don't see it like that. I just see me being there

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at the right time and just managed to help her.

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He was wonderful. He was wonderful.

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Penny owed her life to a complete stranger that day

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and when things go wrong it's often a passer-by who's the first

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to pitch in and help, as we're about to see.

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St Neots, Cambridgeshire.

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A cyclist on his daily commute home from work.

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He's on a deadline -

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he wants to be home to put his young son to bed.

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He approaches a roundabout, he's just five minutes from home.

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His helmet camera captures what happens next.

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I opened the door and a lady said "I'm an off-duty police officer,

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"I've been with your husband. I think it's best if you come with me."

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Software support specialist Alistair is a keen cyclist.

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I started cycling mainly as a means to actually get to work

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and it just sort of turned into a hobby and I started doing

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a couple of events, things like the London to Brighton bike ride.

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I've done that four or five times now, I think.

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Pushing the pedals has come with added benefits too.

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Five or six years ago, I was sort of about 17 or 18st

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and I had some blood pressure issues and things like that.

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And Alistair has a very good reason for wanting to keep fit and well.

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His family. He and wife Kelly have been together for nine years.

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We met when she was studying for her degree at De Montford University.

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The Batman outfit Alistair wore that night instantly caught Kelly's eye.

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He thinks he's very funny.

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I suppose that's one of the things that attracted me to him.

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He is funny, really. Just don't tell him.

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Four years later, they were married,

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and now have an 18-month-old son, Travis.

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He's a really good dad.

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It's lovely to see him with Travis. They spend a lot of time together.

0:19:360:19:39

When he's not at home with his family, Alistair's at work.

0:19:410:19:44

He cycles to his office, just over ten miles away,

0:19:440:19:47

and enjoys the commute,

0:19:470:19:49

but Kelly isn't so keen on her husband's daily mode of transport.

0:19:490:19:54

I worry about him every time he leaves the house on his bike.

0:19:540:19:58

To help ease Kelly's worries,

0:19:580:20:01

Alistair invests in a new bit of kit.

0:20:010:20:03

I wear a helmet cam for safety, primarily.

0:20:030:20:06

But secondly, where it's visible,

0:20:060:20:08

I find it's actually a deterrent as well.

0:20:080:20:10

I think I've had less occasions where I've wished I'd had

0:20:100:20:14

a camera since actually I've had it because it can be seen

0:20:140:20:17

and I can be seen to be wearing it.

0:20:170:20:18

But even with the helmet camera, Kelly isn't reassured.

0:20:180:20:22

There's a lot of crazy people out there,

0:20:220:20:24

drivers don't have the patience, so they don't want to wait.

0:20:240:20:27

To lessen Kelly's concerns, the couple come up with a plan.

0:20:270:20:31

They install a clever app on their smartphones

0:20:310:20:34

so Kelly can track her husband's cycle route to and from work.

0:20:340:20:37

So we just press the home button and I say, "Where's my husband?"

0:20:370:20:41

And he says, "Where's my wife?"

0:20:410:20:43

It's mainly I do it when he's riding his bike,

0:20:430:20:47

and he sets a notification to tell me when he gets to work.

0:20:470:20:50

It's a warm summer's evening in August.

0:20:510:20:54

Alastair lets Kelly know he's on his way home.

0:20:540:20:57

He's taking his normal route along the A1, turning off at Barford.

0:20:570:21:01

It's about 45 minutes, door to door.

0:21:010:21:04

It was pretty much an ordinary day.

0:21:040:21:06

Sort of unlocked my bike from work and just basically set off.

0:21:060:21:09

Also out and about that pleasant summer's evening are local couple

0:21:100:21:13

Paul and Sue going for a stroll.

0:21:130:21:16

We set off on one of our usual routes, heading out of the estate,

0:21:170:21:21

and we were going to cross the main road, down by the river,

0:21:210:21:23

do a loop around and then come back again.

0:21:230:21:26

As they begin their trip, Alistair is close to finishing his.

0:21:270:21:32

I was pretty much home.

0:21:320:21:34

It was the last roundabout that I have to go across on the main road.

0:21:340:21:38

At home, Kelly checks her phone to see where Alistair is.

0:21:380:21:42

It's nearly bedtime for their young son, Travis.

0:21:420:21:45

I tried to wait cos he does like to see Daddy

0:21:450:21:48

and Daddy likes to see Travis before he goes to bed.

0:21:480:21:51

On the last leg of his journey, and just minutes from home,

0:21:530:21:55

Alistair approaches the last roundabout.

0:21:550:21:58

His head cam records every second.

0:21:580:22:01

I signalled to turn right...

0:22:020:22:05

..waited for a couple of cars, one that was in front of me

0:22:060:22:10

and then there was another car that came round as well,

0:22:100:22:12

and I waited for that. I then joined the traffic behind that car,

0:22:120:22:16

going round the roundabout.

0:22:160:22:18

But he doesn't see the car coming at speed straight towards him

0:22:190:22:23

from the exit ahead.

0:22:230:22:25

All I'd heard was the wheels screeching on the ground.

0:22:250:22:28

Alistair's camera captures the moment the car takes his bike from underneath him.

0:22:280:22:33

And then I felt the impact and then I just flew.

0:22:340:22:38

HE BREATHES HEAVILY

0:22:480:22:50

His gasps for breath are audible as he struggles to understand

0:22:500:22:54

what's just happened.

0:22:540:22:55

I remember thinking, I want to get home, I want to see my wife,

0:22:550:22:58

I want to see my son, I want to put him to bed, I want to you know...

0:22:580:23:01

..sort of be a dad.

0:23:030:23:05

Paul and Sue reach the roundabout just as the accident happens.

0:23:060:23:10

The head cam footage shows them approaching the junction on foot.

0:23:100:23:15

It was almost in slow motion, really.

0:23:150:23:17

As he came round, suddenly there was this car and a screech of brakes

0:23:170:23:21

and the poor chap was in the road.

0:23:210:23:23

It was really shocking and you know,

0:23:230:23:25

your heart starts pumping and, you know,

0:23:250:23:28

there's a bit of a chill goes through you

0:23:280:23:31

because you start to think, how badly is he hurt?

0:23:310:23:34

I hit the ground pretty hard.

0:23:340:23:37

My first thought was, have I lost a leg or something?

0:23:370:23:40

Is everything still there? And it kind of was.

0:23:400:23:42

And then the pain in my legs,

0:23:420:23:44

where my bike had hit my legs, came through.

0:23:440:23:47

And I remember just rolling over and then lying back and putting my head

0:23:470:23:50

on the ground and going, "Oh!"

0:23:500:23:52

Paul and Sue know they need to help.

0:23:540:23:57

I immediately ran forward to see if he was all right

0:23:570:24:00

and to make sure he didn't move at all.

0:24:000:24:02

Stay there, mate. Don't try and get up. All right.

0:24:020:24:05

Just lay there.

0:24:050:24:08

There was obviously something wrong because he wasn't getting up.

0:24:080:24:14

We both stood by Alistair just to try and alert the traffic that

0:24:140:24:17

was coming and I'd got my mobile out and called the ambulance.

0:24:170:24:22

How old are you?

0:24:220:24:25

I'm 30.

0:24:250:24:27

30.

0:24:270:24:28

As Alistair lies injured in the road, at home, Kelly,

0:24:280:24:32

unaware of the accident, checks her phone once more.

0:24:320:24:35

Being an anxious wife,

0:24:350:24:36

I looked again because it should only take in five minutes to get from there

0:24:360:24:39

and he still wasn't home, he was still in the same place.

0:24:390:24:42

Barely half a mile away,

0:24:440:24:46

Alistair is slowly beginning to regain his senses.

0:24:460:24:49

The next thing sort of I saw was a guy sort of standing over me.

0:24:490:24:54

I approached him and impressed upon him to

0:24:540:24:57

just to stay still for a moment

0:24:570:25:00

to ascertain if he'd been badly injured.

0:25:000:25:03

My first thought was,

0:25:030:25:05

can he see something that I can't see that's wrong?

0:25:050:25:09

That was a bit frightening for me.

0:25:090:25:10

But as luck would have it,

0:25:110:25:13

two other people have seen the commotion

0:25:130:25:15

and they are both off-duty police officers.

0:25:150:25:18

I'm a police officer, that's why I've stopped. OK?

0:25:180:25:21

I'm not going to move you.

0:25:210:25:22

Someone's called an ambulance. What's your name?

0:25:220:25:27

-Alistair.

-Alistair. OK. What's hurting? Your back?

0:25:270:25:30

One of the officers does a quick basic medical check.

0:25:300:25:33

Grab your toes.

0:25:330:25:35

Yeah, I can feel that.

0:25:350:25:38

Yeah. OK?

0:25:380:25:39

That's all fine, yeah.

0:25:390:25:41

-How about bending your leg up?

-Yeah.

-Leg all right?

0:25:410:25:44

Yeah, that's fine.

0:25:440:25:46

There are no obvious serious injuries

0:25:460:25:48

and with busy traffic still flowing past,

0:25:480:25:50

it's decided to move Alistair to the safety of the pavement.

0:25:500:25:54

-All right?

-Yeah.

0:25:540:25:56

How are you doing? Don't go too quick. Don't go too quick.

0:25:560:25:59

With an ambulance on its way,

0:26:030:26:05

one of the police officers heads to the family home.

0:26:050:26:08

I opened the door and a really nice lady said,

0:26:080:26:11

"I'm an off-duty police officer.

0:26:110:26:13

"I've been with your husband, he's fine, he's alert, he's talking.

0:26:130:26:17

"He's standing.

0:26:170:26:18

"We've moved him off the road,

0:26:180:26:20

"but I think it's best if you come with me."

0:26:200:26:23

Kelly's worst fears have come true.

0:26:230:26:26

Now she knows why the phone app showed Alistair was stationary.

0:26:260:26:30

She grabs baby Travis and rushes to be at her husband's side.

0:26:300:26:35

I was shaking and nervous and worried

0:26:350:26:37

and then when I actually saw him, it was a big relief.

0:26:370:26:41

And I tried to hold it together for him, I didn't want to upset him.

0:26:410:26:44

But quite emotional, so...

0:26:440:26:46

She has an acute sense of what she might have lost.

0:26:480:26:51

Love of my life.

0:26:510:26:52

Father of our child and...

0:26:540:26:55

Yeah.

0:26:580:27:00

With Kelly and Travis at his side,

0:27:000:27:02

Alistair begins to realise just how lucky he's been.

0:27:020:27:06

I kind of did a body check,

0:27:060:27:07

just sort of started looking at things like my arm and my hands

0:27:070:27:11

and I realised that I had some sort of quite bad sort of road rash

0:27:110:27:15

on my knuckles and my arm.

0:27:150:27:17

And that's where the pain was.

0:27:170:27:19

Kelly spots the driver who hit him.

0:27:190:27:22

He's obviously really upset by what had happened.

0:27:220:27:24

He was shaking, so I just went and said to him that, you know, he's OK.

0:27:240:27:30

Later, the motorist agreed to go on a driver's awareness course

0:27:300:27:34

but wasn't prosecuted.

0:27:340:27:36

After his amazing escape, Alistair heads home with his family.

0:27:370:27:41

It was just nice having a cuddle

0:27:410:27:43

and just makes you realise how lucky you are.

0:27:430:27:46

It could have been very different.

0:27:460:27:47

Don't even want to think about how different.

0:27:470:27:50

It was all about transport today.

0:27:580:28:00

We had the lot - cars, bikes, and boats.

0:28:000:28:03

But, thankfully, everyone came through.

0:28:030:28:05

See you next time on Close Calls.

0:28:050:28:07

A young man is thrown from his vehicle and lands in the middle of a busy motorway after a tyre blowout in the fast lane, and a lorry driver captures the whole thing on a dash cam.

A passer-by comes to the rescue of a woman on a sinking canal boat, and a young dad cycling home from work dodges death at a roundabout.