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24 hours a day, seven days a week,
the emergency services are there
to pick up the pieces when we get it wrong.
These are the real-life heroes.
Tonight we get closer than ever to the action. This is Real Rescues.
Tonight, an international rescue is launched
after a cruise ship is holed by an iceberg.
A British holidaymaker records every minute of their fight for survival in the ice floes.
It was very cold. It was very, very cold.
It's question time for teacher, Cliff.
His loss of memory after a fall is worrying the medics.
Who's the prime minister?
And the fire-fighters of Green Watch turn out to free people trapped in a lift
while one is having a panic attack.
-Feeling all right?
Hopefully, you'll be out in a few minutes.
Tonight's first rescue is not the kind we see every day.
It's the story of a cruise ship and a very large iceberg.
The lives of 150 people on board hang in the balance
as the distress call is picked up 12,000 miles away
by British coastguards.
We're using exclusive footage shot by a British holidaymaker on board.
We join the ship as it approaches Antarctica.
Georgie and Clive Hale have been saving up for this holiday of a lifetime to Antarctica.
They're on the adventure cruise ship The Explorer.
WOMAN: Look at the colour of that!
At the moment, the ship is sailing through the ice floes of South Georgia.
But The Explorer is heading towards the tougher waters of Antarctica.
The boat's hull is reinforced, and she's ready.
Nicknamed "the little red ship", she's already won a place in many of their hearts.
She was a small ship and she was a brave little ship
because she went to so many places that other ships didn't get to.
I think that was the appeal. Because she was small,
you got to know her quickly. It soon felt like home.
Booming ice as the ship ploughs its way through.
As a British-registered boat, The Explorer comes under the protection of Falmouth coastguard.
Although thousands of miles apart,
this is about to become a very special relationship.
We extend our direct rescue area
1,200 miles out into the Atlantic
which gives us a direct area of responsibility
of over 600,000 square miles.
But as well as that whenever a British-registered vessel,
a British-registered yacht or boat gets into difficulty
everybody is obliged to let the British authorities know and they come to Falmouth.
For the moment, the seas are calm and the holidaymakers are happy.
They're spending the day enjoying the sights of Elephant Island off the South Shetlands.
Tonight, they're heading to Antarctica.
But what started out as a dream cruise is about to turn into a tale of survival.
98% of the Antarctic is covered by ice.
The ship has to cut through it. The going is getting very tough.
Literally ploughing over the top of things and hoping it cracks in the meantime.
Everybody else has gone to bed. There's two or three of us left on deck.
I'd like to sleep, but hey, you've got the rest of your life to sleep.
But there won't be much sleep for anyone on board The Explorer tonight.
A beautiful, beautiful night. A lot of ice around.
More ice that night than we'd seen before.
That's what we've come through, believe it or not.
We're getting very close to some clear water again.
At this point, Georgie thinks they've made it through the worst.
Husband Clive takes up the story.
That night I'd been on deck with Georgie.
I take the still photos
and Georgie takes the video.
I'd taken some of the sunset
which was very beautiful that night.
I was getting tired then, so I said, "I'm going down to the cabin."
I went down, got into bed and was reading. I was still awake
when the alarm went.
The ship has hit an iceberg.
It's holed, and water is coming in.
I became aware of a slight commotion in the bridge.
The Captain went off, came back,
looking pretty concerned, saying, "This is serious. This is serious."
At which point I thought, "This is the time to go to the cabin
"and start preparing", because it was perfectly obvious at that point
that something major had happened.
Within minutes, all passengers are out of bed
and in life-jackets and thermal survival suits.
We'd been told that it wasn't a drill, that it was for real.
But because everything seemed OK,
looking back we all obediently took our seats in the lecture theatre
that was the muster station
and the crew were telling jokes and trying to keep our spirits up.
But nobody's spirits were really down.
We were a bit bemused, wondering what was going on.
While the holidaymakers are treating this as just another big adventure,
below decks the crew are getting more and more concerned.
They're losing the battle to pump out the water.
In a few minutes, we'll hear what happens when the captain's worst fears are realised.
It's the summer holidays and PC Mark Fruin is on the motorway
rushing to an accident.
A report of a caravan jack-knifed in the live carriageway.
There's only one carriageway open at the moment
with traffic struggling to get through.
The accident is causing a huge tailback.
Mark's already thinking how he's going to clear it
in a worst-case scenario.
If the carriageway remains blocked, we have to do a rearward relief.
That means closing the carriageway prior to the junction behind us
and turning these cars round and getting them off the carriageway.
Using all his advanced driving skills, Mark squeezes between the traffic.
He's on the scene.
The caravan is stranded by the central reservation.
The car which was pulling it has been moved to the hard shoulder.
Before he starts investigating, Mark needs to check if there are any serious injuries.
Let these guys do what they do, and then we'll have a chat.
It's been a terrifying end to a week's caravanning holiday for the Fitzgerald family.
They tyre blew on the caravan and then it started snaking.
I was trying to brake, and trying to not brake, not knowing what to do first.
But it was just going side-to-side.
It was in slow motion, wasn't it?
You can see the central reservation coming towards you. Bang!
It was the kids. I had to get the kids out.
There was stuff pouring out the car
and I thought the car was gonna go up in smoke.
I couldn't get the door open, but we got out the window.
It's certainly been a lucky escape.
The caravan had jack-knifed and smashed into the car,
forcing the family out into the path of other motorway traffic.
One of the tyres was ripped off the wheel. He lost control of the car
which took him from lane one into lane three.
and he came to rest in the barrier in the central reservation in lane three.
Gary's careful driving after the blow-out
helped prevent what could have been a much more serious accident.
Luckily, where I didn't just brake,
the caravan never toppled
and just the fact that
I'd put so much distance between me and the cars behind
cos they realised I was in danger. That saved a mass pile-up.
With no serious injuries to worry about, the recovery teams have worked quickly
at clearing the debris from the road.
We're about to open the carriageway.
The Highways Agency will get the traffic coming slowly to start.
You can see all three carriageways are open now.
It's been a quick turnaround to get the road open again.
Now Mark has time to take a closer look at the caravan.
There's a long pole that comes out there and attaches to the car.
That's snapped off and the car's come round and met the caravan,
causing that damage there.
A car pulling that weight, it could have been far worse.
So they're lucky it's minor injuries.
No-one got hurt, so...
Not even Bambi!
With no-one at fault, this is a job for the insurance company.
A frightening end to a week's holiday.
The family are just relieved they've all escaped with no injuries.
In the icy waters of the Southern Ocean,
a group of holidaymakers is in danger and UK coastguards are working to rescue them.
Their ship, The Explorer, is on an expedition to the Antarctic but it's struck an iceberg.
There's a hole in the hull, and water is pouring into one of the cabins.
It's the early hours and the passengers are out of bed in life-jackets.
British holidaymaker Georgie Hale is recording it all on her camera.
You can see that the boat has a considerable list on it.
They've put a Mayday out, and are trying to repair the damage to the hull.
Everybody knew by that stage that water had poured into one of the cabins.
We knew the person whose cabin it had poured into.
But that was all we knew.
The situation is getting very serious.
The captain arrives, but even he can't be sure what's in store.
I don't think I ever seriously thought
this is going to lead to abandoning ship.
I just sort of assumed that it would turn out all right in the end.
But that's not what the coastguard are thinking back in the UK.
The HQ in Falmouth are co-ordinating an international rescue operation.
We established that the vessel was holed.
It's taking water and the vessel is starting to list
so it's on an angle in the sea and is in danger of sinking.
The captain is considering evacuating the passengers.
Now, if the captain has made a decision to evacuate passengers and crew
you know that it is in a very severe state.
You need help there as quickly as possible.
So you're looking to find what else is there to try and assist.
We're trying to contact the British military, to see if they know what's around.
The Americans are seeing what military assets they have in the area.
And they're gonna see what other cruise ships
or merchant vessels might be in the area as well.
Back on ship, things are looking ominous.
They've got the lifeboats over the side
so that's not looking too promising.
It's odd, when you're in a situation like that, you live through it
and it wasn't really until the "abandon ship" announcement
came over the loudspeakers that we thought, "This really is for real.
"We'll have to get in those lifeboats."
The decision to abandon ship is the toughest call a captain is ever going to make.
But this time, he has no choice.
The degree of list is increasing rapidly,
the captain will be aware of the training of his crew.
Also, he'll be looking at his passengers.
You may have people of different ages and abilities
and he has to think about how quickly he can evacuate them safely.
Suddenly, Georgie is filming something she never thought she'd see.
The Explorer is going down.
All 154 passengers and crew are in 12 lifeboats and life rafts.
Back in Falmouth, the coastguard are desperately trying to locate any ships in the area
that can be diverted to help.
The chances of surviving for very long in sub-zero temperatures in open lifeboats are not good.
Even in thermal survival suits,
they will have little chance of getting out alive if a storm blows up.
All Georgie and Clive know is that they're 600 miles from the southern tip of Chile
with no idea when, or if, they'll be found before the weather changes.
It was very cold. It was very, very cold
and although by Southern Ocean standards it wasn't rough,
it was quite choppy enough for a lot of people,
me included, to feel very, very sick.
But the international Mayday calls have been picked up in the nick of time.
The Norwegian cruise ship Nor Norge has responded.
She was three hours away, and once she heard the Mayday,
she changed course immediately and headed to the stricken ship.
But the rescue is far from over yet for Georgie and Clive
and the other passengers.
As we'll see.
We're with ambulance crew Chris Burton and Karen Hardy
en route to an early morning call-out. It sounds unusual.
We're on our way to Old Portsmouth, a patient who's had a fall during the night
and sustained a cut head and who is now acting strangely according to the person on scene.
The strange and worrying behaviour includes memory loss.
We arrived at the address and the man was in bed
and he said he'd taken a tumble down a couple of steps
and had had a small bump on the side of the head and a small graze.
But he was unable to recollect any events from the previous day.
My fear was that he may have started a small bleed in his head.
I'll take a bit of blood to see what your blood sugars are, OK?
-Have you eaten today?
The ambulance crew know that Cliff Pinwell's symptoms could indicate something quite serious.
But Cliff is just embarrassed about causing a fuss.
-Don't want to waste your time, that's all!
-It's never a waste of time.
4.6. That's all right.
Chris keeps probing while he gets Cliff some oxygen.
He's still trying to get a handle on how severely Cliff's head and possibly brain have been affected.
-You've no recollection of what happened?
-Not at all of yesterday.
-The whole of yesterday.
-It's my girlfriend's birthday tomorrow. What day is it today?
It's Wednesday today.
It'll all come back to me.
Don't forget her card, will you?
At the hospital, Chris, who's a teacher, is struggling to remember basic things.
Who's the prime minister?
Not very good on public knowledge!
Cliff's girlfriend, Sarah, has arrived.
She can recall exactly what happened.
Last night, about 12.30, he went to the toilet in the dark
and tripped over, fell off a step
and I found him in a heap on the floor. He did cry out.
And there was a lot of blood.
You've not lost your sense of humour. That's one thing.
That's OK, then! I'll make up for it!
Despite the good humour, staff are worried about Cliff's symptoms.
Dr Brett Lockyear is going to investigate
if anything more serious is going on,
like a bleed in the brain.
How do you feel in yourself today? Any excruciating headaches?
It's literally that side.
Cliff is quite irrepressible,
which is just as well, as Dr Brett has lots of questions.
-Give my another one.
-Count backwards from 20 down to one.
19... No, not very well.
Uh... Is there a time limit?
-Just take your time.
You're having a bit of a problem with that.
-Do you know what this is called?
-What are these called?
-What do I do for a living?
-I think you're a comedian!
-You're a doctor.
Brett wants to check his physical responses
to see if his fall has affected him neurologically.
No visual... You can see me all right?
-Not seeing two of me.
-I'm getting some cracking tracers.
Like the six-million-dollar man.
But not that bad. If I... That's fun, when I do that.
-You get funny images.
-OK. I'll be back in two ticks.
-Cool. Thank you.
A tolerant Sarah's been keeping her eye on Cliff's unusual behaviour.
I'm available for parties, weddings...
Because he's got this visual problem
and also because of his speech
I want to think about getting a CT scan.
I'm just not quite happy about him, so...
-Keep very, very still. You go in and out twice.
The CT scan will reveal if there's an injury to Cliff's brain
and internal bleeding which would account for his memory loss
and visual problems.
It's all over. While Cliff and Sarah wait,
Dr Lockyear has a good look at the scan.
A normal scan. No inter-cranial haemorrhage or raised pressure,
no skull pressure showing. It's absolutely normal.
Amnesia after a head injury is quite common.
The reason we were worried is he had amnesia with neurological signs.
We'll keep an eye on him for the rest of today,
to make sure things return to normal.
It's encouraging it's a normal scan.
Time to give Cliff the good news.
-Now, you've had a bit of an exciting morning.
-It's been exhilarating.
The good news is your brain scan is absolutely fine.
No sign of any collections, any bleeds into your brain.
And no sign of any skull fracture.
Despite his happy-go-lucky exterior, Cliff is relieved at the outcome.
I want to go home!
Green Watch have been called to a lift in an office block.
It's stuck between floors. Six people have been trapped for an hour
and one is suffering badly with claustrophobia.
The lift is stuck just above ground level.
Incident commander Sean Foster tries to make contact with the captives.
-Fire service. How are you? Are you all right?
-It's a trial for one man.
Hopefully you'll be out in a couple of minutes.
The trapped office workers have told Sean
that Scott Leonard, the claustrophobic, is clawing at the doors
desperate to get out.
Stand towards the back of the car, please.
Two of the crew are dispatched to isolate the lift.
Meanwhile, Sean and Luther prepare to open the outer lift door.
They're well prepared for lift rescues.
In fact, they carry over-ride keys for all the lifts they know about on their patch.
All the time, they talk to the people inside, telling them what they're doing.
We'll isolate the power to the lift and then open the outer door,
which will give you fresh air.
Then we'll lower the lift down to the ground floor.
But it's taking time to get to the power supply.
The people inside are increasingly worried about Scott.
Is he conscious?
We will have you out shortly.
Sean's doing his best to reassure them
but there's a problem getting the power turned off.
The members of staff couldn't find the key to the lift motor room.
Eventually, the right key was found,
access was made to the lift motor room
to isolate the supply and carry out the rescue.
The indicator panel's gone out. We're gonna try and open the door.
There's no danger to the lift passengers,
so it's just a case of opening the doors.
They're in, and their priority is Scott.
ALL TALK AT ONCE
They need to give him oxygen immediately.
Just calm down. Calm down.
Sit down there.
Try and slow your breathing down a little bit.
There you go. Breathe deeply.
Keep breathing as deep as you can.
Richie and Luther are doing their best to reassure Scott
and calm him after his ordeal.
Been in there for a while. An hour or so.
He's starting to come round.
'It suddenly got, in my mind, incredibly hot,
'and an instant feeling, "I will never get out of here."'
I jammed the inside doors of the lift open
and pressed my face against the outside door
where some cool air was coming in.
Try and have a drink. Have some water.
A common analogy is a lot of people are scared of snakes.
For me, being stuck in a lift is like someone who's scared of snakes
sitting in a room full of snakes with no idea how or when they'll get out.
It's that kind of panic inside me.
It's been a frightening ordeal for all those trapped inside.
Five of them crammed into the back of a very small lift.
Managed to stay calm for an hour despite me panicking and shouting!
It's been quite an ordeal for all those trapped inside.
Unfortunately, Scott was close to hyperventilating
and trying to claw his way out.
We definitely needed the fire brigade's assistance!
It'll be a while before they get back in a lift.
As for Scott, he feels as though he's just lived through his worst nightmare.
'This is my complete and utter worst fear.
'I shouldn't have got the lift in the first place. I won't do that tomorrow!'
I'm now gonna have a cup of tea!
Via the stairs!
Now back to that extraordinary rescue just off Antarctica.
We left Georgie and Clive Hale in lifeboats
after their dream holiday went disastrously wrong.
Their cruise ship, The Explorer, hit an iceberg and began to sink.
All crew and passengers abandoned ship.
Now a massive international rescue operation is underway.
After four-and-a-half hours in open lifeboats,
the Norwegian cruise ship Nor Norge has arrived to rescue all the survivors.
First, they have to get 154 people out of tiny life rafts
onto a huge cruise liner.
It was quite a process to get on there
because we had to get from the lifeboats into the inflatables
and from the inflatables either into the rescue ship's lifeboats
which were then raised up from the sea onto deck,
or most of us had to climb up a little ladder
into an opening in the side of the ship.
If anybody told me in advance I'd have to do that,
I'd have said, "No way I can do that!"
But it's amazing what you can do when you've got to!
Once on board the Nor Norge, the relief at being safe is overwhelming.
We were all reunited with each other, which was great.
People started to feel concern for each other,
wondering how friends they'd made had fared
because we were in different lifeboats so you weren't sure how they were doing.
By this time, the keel of The Explorer is more and more visible.
Seeing the ship like that provokes some strong emotions from Georgie.
Heartbreaking. Absolutely heartbreaking.
It was... It was like watching an injured animal.
I'm sorry. Emotional.
You get very fond of a ship.
You can't imagine how a piece of metal
can be something you feel so fond of.
It was to take 20 hours for The Explorer to finally disappear under the water.
The next stop for the rescue ship Nor Norge
is a Chilean airbase in Antarctica.
But even being picked up from here is not straightforward.
It's two days before a plane manages to land on this snow-covered air base.
It will take them to the Chilean capital, Santiago.
At that stage, we weren't sure it would be able to land.
We were told it would come in and try to land
but if it couldn't, it would go away and try again the next day.
We just watched this dot getting bigger and bigger
and then it did land. That was a great feeling. A cheer went up then!
It's not exactly the luxury trip they'd hoped for.
But at least they're safe.
Within a week, Georgie and Clive are back in the UK.
Our older daughter, Katie, said she'd pick us up from the airport.
But when we got there, not only was Katie there, but Lucy, our other daughter,
and Tom, our youngest grandson was there too.
That was just such a wonderful moment.
To think, "Yes, we're home. It's finished. It's over. We're safe."
It's Mummy and Katie!
Katie! Everybody's back together again!
And Georgie can't thank all of those involved in their rescue enough.
We learned that Falmouth coastguards had been instrumental in orchestrating the whole thing.
There we were, in lifeboats in the middle of the Southern Ocean,
not knowing whether anybody knew where we were,
and there they are in Cornwall getting everything organised!
It's a strange thought,
but, goodness me, had it not been for their knowledge and expertise,
that story would have had a completely different ending, yeah.
Let's catch up with the people in tonight's other rescues.
The Fitzgerald family, who crashed on the motorway,
have bravely put the accident behind them.
They won't be put off holidaymaking by this.
I've found out that you can get some bands fitted to the tyres.
If you get a puncture, you can still keep going.
So I'm on the road again
so I'll try not to clog up the M27 again!
Cliff Pinwell, the man who lost his memory after falling over a hoover made a complete recovery.
He's now back teaching.
Join us again next week
to see more real-life heroes at work
on Real Rescues.
Subtitles by Moira Diamond Red Bee Media - 2009