Episode 20 Real Rescues


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Episode 20

Series following the work of the emergency services. Rescuers battle waist-deep snow to help an injured climber, while a helicopter tries to rescue the crew of a wrecked trawler.


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Today - dashed against rocks and at the mercy of the high seas.

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The fate of 14 fishermen lies with the skills

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of a coastguard helicopter crew.

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A bank holiday weekend ends in disaster.

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A scooter rider comes off, slides face first along the tarmac.

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We need you to keep very, very still, OK?

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Hello and welcome to Real Rescues.

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Today we're in the ambulance control centre near Winchester in Hampshire.

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The first ever 999 call was made in London back in 1937

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at the start of the brand new emergency service.

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There's dispute over who made it first, but it must have been

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needed as they took 1,300 calls in the first week.

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Yes, and now places like this can take up to 1,300 calls a day.

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Exactly. Do you want to find out what's coming in today?

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Let's go and have a chat. Let's see, it was Anna I was going to talk to first this morning.

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-Hello?

-Hello.

-What's going on at the moment?

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We've just had a call from a young boy

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who is in the car with his mum on the motorway.

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They've had to pull over to the hard shoulder,

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as his mum's experiencing chest pains.

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He's stayed very calm.

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He's been able to tell us which direction he was travelling in.

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It's taken us a while to locate them.

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-Yeah, I'm sure.

-The motorway's rather a big place.

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I think adults find it difficult to explain,

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so he's obviously done a fantastic job.

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Yeah, he's stayed really calm.

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When his mum was feeling a little bit better she managed to tell us

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-which junction they were at.

-And what have you sent out?

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-We've managed to send an RRV and an ambulance, who are on scene at the moment.

-On scene at the moment?

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Smashing. That's what's going on in here at the moment.

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We'll try and let you know how that develops

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during the course of this morning.

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Now, the seas off the north-west coast of Scotland are some of

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the most busy and treacherous waters around the British Isles.

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We're about to see what happened when one trawler

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was smashed onto the rocks in a raging storm.

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The rescue was an extraordinary feat of precise flying in the

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worst conditions by a coastguard helicopter.

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Louise has been to the Outer Hebrides, where it all happened.

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This is the coastguard station in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis.

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The flying conditions here are the worst in the UK, with winds of up

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to 60 knots - or 70 mph - coming straight in from the Atlantic.

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We're about to see how the crew work in those extremes,

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in, arguably, their toughest rescue to date.

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The seas off St Kilda, the most remote part of the British Isles,

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40 miles north-west of the Outer Hebrides.

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Fishing boats are taking refuge here.

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A force nine gale is blowing and the waves are as high as 40 feet.

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Rescue helicopter one-zero-zero has been called to the scene.

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These pictures were recorded by the infra-red camera.

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One trawler, The Spinningdale, has run into deep trouble.

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It's been smashed onto rocks.

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14 Spanish fishermen are on board.

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Massive waves are swamping the decks

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and their lives are in danger.

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Three hours earlier, skipper Manuel Canibe

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handed over control of the boat to grab some sleep.

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TRANSLATION: That night I went to bed at three.

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The second watch stayed on the bridge.

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At five in the morning the engine broke down

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and the wind pushed us against the rocks.

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We heard a big blow.

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Everything shook.

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I never had experienced anything like it.

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Now, firmly pinned to the rocks by the pounding waves, Manuel

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and his crew attempted to fix the mechanical problem.

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We managed to start the main engine again and we tried to move the boat, but it didn't work.

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It was then I sent a mayday signal.

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Manuel's distress call was picked up by the coastguard at Stornoway.

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At 5.25 in the morning we got the call here in Stornoway that a vessel

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had gone aground out in St Kilda,

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to the west of the Western Isles.

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They need to be rescued immediately.

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It was quite horrendous conditions.

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Rescue helicopter one-zero-zero was immediately scrambled.

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Pilot Captain, Liz Forsyth, was facing one of her toughest jobs.

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You're running through your mind what you're going to find when you

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get there, how you're going to carry out the rescue,

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what the conditions are going to be like there.

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I'd not been to St Kilda before.

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But it was in my mind from one of the other captains, saying

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what an awful place it could be in strong, turbulent winds.

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So I was working out how to keep us safe.

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It's a half-hour flight from the Isle of Lewis.

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Conditions are appalling.

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Liz is flying by her instruments alone. Outside it's pitch black.

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Winchman, Phil Warrington, searches for The Spinningdale on the infra-red camera.

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You've got a big slab on the nose, which is at about 0.6 of a mile.

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Your escape will be right on to zero-eight-zero.

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Phil can see fishing boats trying to find shelter.

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But Liz has to edge the aircraft close

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to the cliffs to catch a sight of the stricken Spinningdale trawler.

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There he is. He's tucked right into the corner.

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Manuel and his crew have been on the rocks for over two hours.

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They have little shelter.

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The doors of the bridge have been ripped off by the wind.

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Water is pouring in.

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They are all at risk of hypothermia.

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TRANSLATION: We needed to get out of there

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because everybody was very nervous.

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We were all nervous. We wanted to get out as soon as possible.

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We were wearing the lifejackets, but if we'd jumped in the water

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or launched the lifeboats we'd have been slammed against the rocks.

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The sea was breaking against the rocks with great force.

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The trawler could break up at any time.

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But it's too close to the cliff for Liz and her team

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to attempt a rescue in the dark.

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The changing wind is throwing the aircraft up and down.

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Attempting a winch in total darkness

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would put the lives of the rescue crew in danger as well.

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We do train to get into land conditions in pitch black.

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However, the conditions were so severe that we weren't able

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to actually manoeuvre in at a very slow speed that would be required

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if we were flying on instruments and radar.

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So, as we knew that the sun was shortly coming up, we decided to

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hold off for about 20 minutes to get just a very...

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You only need a very small amount of light, just to be able to get

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a contrast with the land and be able to see where you're going.

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It's difficult saying, "Well, we'll just wait 10 minutes."

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Because you think, "Well, what if that was the 10 minutes that the boat rolled over?"

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At the same time, I knew that,

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potentially, we would end up crashing the aircraft.

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But the sound of the helicopter alone

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provides a glimmer of hope for Manuel and his crew.

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TRANSLATION: We knew they were there and they were going to do

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everything they possibly could to rescue us. It was very relieving.

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The helicopter crew have to wait 20 long minutes for daylight,

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all the time using fuel needed for the hover and the return home.

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Rescue one-zero-zero is approaching the bay.

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The time has come, the rescue can begin.

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He's literally just round the corner.

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There's waves going right over at the moment.

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Captain Liz will be tested to the limit.

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Winchman, Phil, will have just 25 minutes

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to get down to the boat and winch off 14 terrified men.

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Manuel has lit a flare.

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Immediately they see a massive wave envelop the trawler.

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Somehow, Phil has to find a foothold on the deck

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as it pitches violently and the waves crash over.

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It's incredibly dangerous and it's hard to imagine a

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more difficult rescue, even with a highly skilled coastguard crew.

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I'll be meeting the UK's first and only female pilot,

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Captain Liz Forsyth, a little bit later to see how they pulled it off.

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August bank holiday,

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when it seems the whole world heads out for one last taste of summer,

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including thousands of enthusiasts making their way

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to the Isle of Wight Scooter Festival.

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But some of them don't have such a smooth ride.

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Emergency care practitioner, Mark Ainsworth-Smith,

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has just been called to a crash on the M3.

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Obviously the potential on any motorway is always significant.

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So we'll be pushing up towards this job

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and trying to get there as quickly as we can.

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But getting anywhere fast today is really difficult.

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Mark's having to drive along the hard shoulder.

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You're seeing the traffic ahead is slowing almost to nothing now.

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Again, real caution.

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There's two sets of sirens.

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For people driving their cars, it's actually very difficult

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for them to differentiate between an ambulance in a car.

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So we're just up behind this ambulance,

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but really driving very cautiously, indeed.

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Mark finds 45-year-old Graham Chapman lying flat out in the road

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after coming off his Vespa.

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Thankfully he's conscious and breathing.

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Emergency care assistant, James Cooper,

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is already there with the ambulance.

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They need to get Graham's helmet and mask off

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to see if he's injured his head.

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But they don't yet know if he has any spinal damage, so it's vital

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he keeps his head and neck as straight as possible.

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We need you to keep very, very still, OK?

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Are you happy to support the chin?

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-Does it normally come off fairly easily?

-Yeah.

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Does it? OK, that's great.

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All right. If we can get hold, what we can do is just gently tease.

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-All right?

-Yeah.

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We're just going to just gently... Just keep your head still.

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-Definitely no pain in your neck at all?

-No.

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Good man, that's great. Do you still have control?

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-Yeah, I've got it.

-Good man.

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Lovely, we're off there. Bit of damage to the front of it.

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They quickly get him on to oxygen.

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Just going to pop that on there as well.

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We apply oxygen to any patient where we suspect major trauma.

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This gentleman had come off his motorcycle at

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probably 60 miles an hour, possibly slightly more than that.

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Because of that, we suspected that he may have significant injuries.

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Lack of oxygen could cause serious damage to his major organs.

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We obviously have cells that carry oxygen around the body.

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If those cells are depleted, for example if somebody's bleeding,

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then they need all the help they can get from supplemental oxygen.

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Because of the risk of spinal injuries

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they need to immobilise Graham.

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So, this collar's just going to go round your neck, OK,

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and keep it completely still.

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Mark continues with all his checks.

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Brilliant, OK. Airway's OK, breathing's OK.

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Circulation, let's pop a little line in.

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Sorry, mate. I know this t-shirt was sentimental.

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Graham's complaining of excruciating pain in his right shoulder.

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Are you able to feel that arm all right?

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The right arm, yeah.

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'It was very obvious, from the amount of pain he had, that he either'

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had a fracture or a dislocation, or possibly both,

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affecting that right shoulder.

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There are very, very vital nerves and blood vessels

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which run through the armpit.

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There's a very serious risk with motorcyclists that they can actually disrupt these

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and cause permanent and very severe injury to themselves.

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So, for the moment, they're going to leave Graham's arm extended.

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What we're going to do is get your pain under control first of all.

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We're going to give you some morphine.

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That will get rid of the pain.

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Then what we can do is start thinking about moving around, OK?

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And getting you on to a special spinal board.

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The morphine should act quickly to relieve Graham's pain.

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This is pretty pokey stuff.

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Most patients feel that they feel quite warm all over.

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Sometimes it starts off in your feet and then works its way up, all right?

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Sometimes people say that's how it feels.

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How's your pain now?

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If it was ten out of ten, the most severe, how bad is now out of ten?

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-Six.

-Six? OK. Do you want some more morphine before we move it?

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We can give you a bit more if you want it.

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-Erm... No, I think that's fine.

-You think you're OK? All right.

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We'll obviously try and avoid twisting you at all.

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Mark supports Graham's injured arm

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whilst he's rolled on to the scoop stretcher.

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Ready to roll. Roll.

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-Ouch. Ow, ow, ow.

-Well done, well done.

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That's it, good lad.

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Ready to go back. Ready to roll. Roll.

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Well done, mate. That's the worst bit, all right?

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Ready, steady, lift.

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-Ahh!

-All right, well done, lovey.

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Ahhhhh.

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-There you go, mate.

-Well done.

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With Graham securely strapped on to the stretcher,

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and the pain relief beginning to kick in,

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they can gently move his arm.

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This was only after we'd established that there was

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no neurovascular problems, no problem with his

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blood supply or with the nerves in that arm.

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Once his arm was returned to the normal position, he actually felt a lot more comfortable.

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We'll see how Graham got on a little later in the programme.

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Still to come on Real Rescues - battling the elements.

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14 sailors are stranded as their trawler crashes into rocks.

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A storm is raging, a gale is blowing at force nine

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and the coastguard helicopter has only 30 minutes

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to get the men off deck.

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Precision flying and the expert skills of the winchmen

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are the sailors' only chance.

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And a man's collapsed in a Peak District blizzard.

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It's so treacherous, the only way to get him out is on foot.

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Looks like conditions are starting to get a bit worse now.

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It's really slow going.

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So we'll just have to see how we go.

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-But first, another call?

-Yes, let's talk to Lauran.

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I was talking to her a little bit earlier about something was going on

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in a shopping area.

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-Lauran, are you OK to talk?

-Yeah.

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Somebody has trapped their hand in an escalator, tell me about the call.

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Well, the call came in in a shopping centre

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where it'd actually transpired that a young child had caught their hand

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and had actually trapped it in the bottom of an escalator.

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Which is very alarming, so you've sent somebody out there.

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-Yeah.

-And how's it going?

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Well, so far, the fire brigade have arrived,

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all the machinery has been switched off and it's just a case

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of advising the patient to not move or getting whoever is looking

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after the patient to not move until they can do something about it.

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Presumably they're going to try and treat them on the scene, are they?

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Yes, yes, if possible.

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Good stuff, Lauran. We'll try and get an update on that a little bit later. Thank you very much.

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Back now to the crew of rescue helicopter 100 as they try to rescue

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14 fishermen from a stricken trawler in the most remote part of the British Isles.

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Louise takes up the story from Stornoway where the crew is based.

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I'm in the cockpit of the coastguard helicopter and with me is the pilot,

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Liz Forsyth who was involved in that incredible rescue.

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Take us back. What greeted you when you got there? What could you see?

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We could see absolutely nothing outside of the window, it was pitch black.

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All we were flying on was the instruments

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and we had our radar screen up here, which would show us

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where the land is, but we could see nothing.

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And there were very fast winds and snow as well.

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How was that affecting the way that you were flying?

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The wind was changing direction, it was flowing up the cliff with

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the up-drafting air, which means very low power on the helicopter.

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Then it would change direction and flow down the cliff, down-drafting,

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which means we're using almost up to the full power of the helicopter.

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So your priority is to keep the helicopter as steady as you can, is it?

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Yeah, I need to keep the helicopter steady at the same height

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and position so that the winchman can be kept safe down on the deck.

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You mention the winchman, let's go and meet him. He's back here.

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That's Phil, who was just about to be winched out of the helicopter, and Larry who's the winch operator.

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-Hello, both. How are you?

-Hi.

-Hi.

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Phil, just describe to us how you saw those conditions, what did you think of them?

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I could see them on the infrared camera,

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you could pick out the ships bobbing up and down

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in the conditions there,

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but normally you can make out the coastline, but with the conditions

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that night with the up draft and down-drafting, it was a white spray all the way round.

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Larry, you were on winch control, what was it like for you?

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Because you're kind of the eyes and ears and the communication

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between the two of them, what did you think of it?

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Yeah, I'm there to basically keep Phil safe throughout the sortie

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and obviously keep the aircraft safe.

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Therefore, I'm telling Liz what's going on below the aircraft,

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what's happening, how close we are to the rocks,

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if any rocks are there, how close we are to any cliff faces.

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and basically just keeping her informed of what's going on underneath the aircraft.

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Were they the worst you've seen, those conditions?

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The worst cases I've seen, without a doubt.

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You mentioned talking to them both, it's called the comm, or commentary,

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and we've got a copy of the actual audio from the rescue. Let's see what happened next.

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The 14 Spanish fishermen are crouched together in the bridge

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of the boat as the helicopter prepares to hover for the winch.

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The height of the waves and the force of the down drafts

0:18:200:18:23

mean Liz has to guard against the aircraft being pushed down into the sea.

0:18:230:18:28

To prevent this happening, Larry will have to winch Phil down from a height of 150 feet.

0:18:280:18:33

He'll have to land on a wet deck, sloping at 45 degrees.

0:18:330:18:38

First, Larry lowers down a line to the crew on the boat.

0:19:060:19:10

This will help them to haul Phil in and make it

0:19:100:19:13

quicker for him to repeatedly grab the winch wire when he's on deck.

0:19:130:19:17

The boat is now directly beneath the helicopter and out of sight

0:19:190:19:22

of the camera but we can still hear Larry's running commentary.

0:19:220:19:26

He's giving very precise instructions to Liz as she fights the strong winds.

0:19:260:19:31

Spanish skipper Manuel knows the process and ventures out onto the angled deck to grab the line.

0:19:370:19:44

TRANSLATION: The waves were hitting the boat with great force,

0:19:440:19:48

so it was dangerous to get out.

0:19:480:19:50

But someone needed to go and take the line.

0:19:500:19:52

Manuel has got hold of the line,

0:19:560:19:58

so it's time to lower Phil out into the violent conditions.

0:19:580:20:02

Manuel and his crew help by pulling Phil in towards them.

0:20:140:20:19

TRANSLATION: The wind was moving him quite a lot

0:20:190:20:22

and he even hit the boat sometimes

0:20:220:20:24

before I could help him get into the boat.

0:20:240:20:27

Now he's down, Phil can still hear Larry in his headphones

0:20:340:20:37

and is warned to brace himself against the constant pounding of the sea.

0:20:370:20:41

From those pictures, Phil, it looks like something out of a disaster movie.

0:20:450:20:49

What was it like on that deck? Just describe to us what was going on.

0:20:490:20:53

The deck was getting washed over with the waves across the back.

0:20:530:20:56

I put my arm through the railings on the port side,

0:20:560:20:59

just my left arm, just to steady me because every now and then it would

0:20:590:21:03

go right across to starboard.

0:21:030:21:04

-Yeah.

-About 45 degrees.

0:21:040:21:06

If you're not holding on, you slip across the deck

0:21:060:21:08

and have the chance of going over the side.

0:21:080:21:10

Larry, you were really crucial in all this because every time a wave

0:21:100:21:14

came in, you were talking to him, weren't you, warning him?

0:21:140:21:18

Yeah, because of the comm system we've got, I can see what's going on below the aircraft.

0:21:180:21:22

And every time a wave was coming in, I'm just shouting, "Phil, hang on."

0:21:220:21:25

That means I'm just concentrating on what I'm doing.

0:21:250:21:28

I can keep my back to the waves and make sure the guys are getting in

0:21:280:21:31

the strops properly, and getting over the side of the boat.

0:21:310:21:34

-Were they quite calm?

-Yes, they were.

0:21:340:21:36

I had a quick chat with the skipper about what I needed from him just to help me out to speed things up.

0:21:360:21:41

He just got on with it and he was a great help down there.

0:21:410:21:43

And, Liz, time was really of the essence here, wasn't it?

0:21:430:21:47

Are you timing how long this is taking?

0:21:470:21:49

We know what fuel, we call it a chicken fuel, that's the fuel we have to leave with

0:21:490:21:53

and we can work out from there how much time we'll have available on scene to carry out the rescue.

0:21:530:21:59

OK, let's see what happened next then.

0:21:590:22:02

Struggling to keep their footing on the slippery deck, Phil and Manuel

0:22:020:22:06

work together to get the first two crew members into rescue strops ready to be winched up.

0:22:060:22:12

TRANSLATION: We started getting people out of the boat.

0:22:120:22:15

First the injured man and the oldest man of the crew.

0:22:150:22:18

Pilot Liz battles the high winds to keep the helicopter steady

0:22:240:22:27

as Larry waits for the right moment to winch the first two up.

0:22:270:22:31

Larry pulls the first two fishermen on board.

0:22:490:22:53

The team now have to repeat the whole dangerous process a further seven times.

0:22:530:22:59

TRANSLATION: The last person getting out of the boat was actually Phil.

0:22:590:23:03

I was the last one of the crew, but Phil was the last one in the boat.

0:23:030:23:08

Now, alone on the boat, a tiring Phil hangs on to the railings.

0:23:080:23:12

He's getting increasingly buffeted by the heavy waves as the tide comes in.

0:23:120:23:16

With no time to lose, Liz brings the helicopter in for the final time.

0:23:160:23:21

With everyone accounted for, they can now head back to the safety

0:24:030:24:06

of their base in Stornoway,

0:24:060:24:08

leaving the Spinningdale behind to its fate in the stormy seas.

0:24:080:24:12

It's been a dangerous but very successful rescue.

0:24:120:24:16

TRANSLATION: They saved us,

0:24:160:24:18

I have an immense feeling of gratitude towards them

0:24:180:24:22

and, well, the only words to describe it, they saved our lives.

0:24:220:24:28

Amazing rescue, amazing that you were able to do all of that.

0:24:520:24:55

Liz, we can hear you on the tape asking about Phil.

0:24:550:24:58

Were you quite worried about him?

0:24:580:24:59

Yeah, I was worried he might have got injured when he was down there.

0:24:590:25:03

I always like to check that everybody's OK after a tricky rescue.

0:25:030:25:06

And, Phil, were you badly injured or not?

0:25:060:25:08

No, not at all. Just a few bruises.

0:25:080:25:10

-Is that normal for the job?

-Yeah, that's normal.

0:25:100:25:12

You see, you're so cool, calm and collected

0:25:120:25:14

but it's an incredible job you do. Do you not get nervous about it?

0:25:140:25:18

No, because you're well trained for it so it just becomes a natural thing to do.

0:25:180:25:22

Like driving a car or any other job.

0:25:220:25:24

That moment when you've got all 14 off, you must feel an immense sense of relief, do you?

0:25:240:25:29

Yes, it just means I've got myself to look after, no-one else then.

0:25:290:25:33

-Which makes it a bit easier.

-Yeah, very easy.

0:25:330:25:35

Larry, there you are, you've got 14 extra people on board this helicopter. How are they doing?

0:25:350:25:40

Apart from a little bit of hypothermia, feeling cold

0:25:400:25:43

and a bit miserable, they were fine.

0:25:430:25:45

Your job doesn't end when they're on board, because

0:25:450:25:47

you'd have to check them over, make sure they're all OK.

0:25:470:25:50

Yeah, Phil's a paramedic but I do help him and we just check that

0:25:500:25:53

everybody's OK, one broken finger I think there was but that was it.

0:25:530:25:57

What did they want, a cup of coffee or something hot to drink, Phil?

0:25:570:26:00

They just want to get home!

0:26:000:26:01

I know you've been given an award and I know you're immensely modest

0:26:010:26:05

about the work that you do. Does that at least make you feel proud?

0:26:050:26:09

It makes me feel proud of the rescue but, really, it's for the whole crew.

0:26:090:26:13

-Or it should be.

-Yeah, but I guess you're all taking your lives in your own hands at this point, aren't you?

0:26:130:26:19

You are but we're in the relative safety of the helicopter,

0:26:190:26:23

-not out on a deck that may be about to sink or roll over.

-Mm-hm.

0:26:230:26:26

I know that they were Spanish, did they at least say gracias to you, what did they say at the end?

0:26:260:26:31

-"Cheers."

-"Cheers," did they?

0:26:310:26:33

Thank you very much for talking to us, it's been amazing

0:26:330:26:35

watching your work and how cool, calm and collected you all are.

0:26:350:26:39

-Thank you.

-Thank you.

0:26:390:26:42

Now, let's get back to Graham whose bank holiday

0:26:420:26:45

is not going as planned. A weekend away to a scooter festival

0:26:450:26:48

has been ruined after he crashed and now he's in an ambulance heading for A & E.

0:26:480:26:53

Graham has some serious medical history.

0:26:560:26:59

I know you said you'd had previous brain surgery, did they actually open, did they do a craniotomy?

0:26:590:27:04

-No.

-OK.

-They did a...

0:27:040:27:06

There was fluid round the brain.

0:27:070:27:10

-OK, encephalitis?

-Yeah.

-OK.

0:27:100:27:12

Graham's protective clothing has saved him from far more serious injury.

0:27:120:27:16

The steel toecaps in his shoes have been worn down to the metal where he skidded to a halt.

0:27:160:27:20

When he came off his motorbike, he slid on his front and you can see

0:27:220:27:25

there's some damage to the front of his crash helmet,

0:27:250:27:28

but also to the front of his clothing.

0:27:280:27:30

Not only did he have a very decent crash helmet on, he had a very thick top and trousers as well.

0:27:300:27:35

Had he, God forbid, been in shorts, what we'd have noticed is that

0:27:350:27:39

he'd have done some terrible damage to himself.

0:27:390:27:42

It would have been a catastrophe, this, but that's really saved the day, hasn't it?

0:27:420:27:46

-You see so many motorcyclists riding about in shorts and T-shirts and it makes you realise.

-Yeah.

0:27:460:27:50

Mind you, I'm not the best person to say that, I used to do the same myself.

0:27:500:27:54

Once inside A & E, Mark hands over to Dr Chris Hillman.

0:27:570:28:02

He was going about 60 miles an hour and for some reason, locked up his back wheel.

0:28:020:28:05

-There's about 65 yards of skid marks, so it's quite significant.

-OK.

0:28:050:28:09

He came off and was seen to land on his face

0:28:090:28:11

and his right shoulder, but he was wearing a crash helmet.

0:28:110:28:14

His obvious injury is his right shoulder, there's no obvious marks

0:28:140:28:17

or anything, but it was ten out of ten pain in the right shoulder.

0:28:170:28:21

Chris needs to give Graham a thorough check-over.

0:28:210:28:24

Ignore the fact you're being undressed.

0:28:240:28:26

OK, and let me know if you're in any pain whatsoever.

0:28:260:28:30

No tenderness? No?

0:28:300:28:32

Don't move your head, that's it, don't move your head.

0:28:320:28:35

I know, it's bad. That's all OK, no pain whatsoever?

0:28:350:28:39

-No.

-Good man. Ready, set, roll.

0:28:390:28:41

Well done, Graham.

0:28:410:28:43

OK, any particular pain here?

0:28:430:28:45

-No.

-Here?

-No.

-Here?

-No.

0:28:450:28:48

It's his shoulder which is giving most cause for concern, but as well

0:28:480:28:52

as that, Graham will need X-rays on his neck, chest and knee to assess the full extent of his injuries.

0:28:520:28:58

Well, Graham had quite a battering and he broke his shoulder in three places and fractured his leg

0:29:000:29:05

but when we spoke to him he said, like most riders of two-wheeled vehicles,

0:29:050:29:10

he can't wait to get back in the saddle. Louise.

0:29:100:29:13

Mike had a call about somebody who had an accident with a lawnmower recently, didn't you?

0:29:130:29:17

-What had he done, this guy?

-Yeah, this gentleman was mowing the lawn

0:29:170:29:20

and as he was doing it, went over his foot and cut deeply into his toe.

0:29:200:29:25

-Right.

-So we gave him the normal instructions of how to control the bleeding.

-Which is?

0:29:250:29:30

Get a clean, dry, cloth or towel, put it over the wound and apply pressure.

0:29:300:29:33

-Now that's very important, to apply the pressure.

-OK.

0:29:330:29:36

But what a lot of people do after that is they take the cloth away.

0:29:360:29:40

Because it's full of blood, they think I need a clean cloth?

0:29:400:29:43

Yeah, don't take the cloth off, just put another one on top of it but keep the pressure constant.

0:29:430:29:48

That's the thing in that injury.

0:29:480:29:50

-Do you find that people go, gosh, I must get a clean cloth?

-Yeah.

0:29:500:29:53

-And then of course you take the cloth off...

-And then all the blood starts coming out again.

0:29:530:29:58

OK, also, when you say put the pressure on, doesn't that make it hurt even more than it does?

0:29:580:30:05

It may do but you'd rather keep your toe and have a little bit of pain.

0:30:050:30:09

-Yep. Was he OK, is he still all right?

-Yeah, he's fine. Doing OK.

-Brilliant, thank you very much.

0:30:090:30:13

-Glad to hear it!

-Not a problem.

0:30:130:30:15

Now then, as the nights get darker and the weather gets colder

0:30:150:30:18

this room inevitably gets busier.

0:30:180:30:20

In winter more people complain of breathing problems, chest pains,

0:30:200:30:24

and harsh winters also bring an increase in road traffic accidents.

0:30:240:30:28

Snow, in particular, can bring the country to a standstill.

0:30:280:30:31

Pushing emergency services to the absolute limit.

0:30:310:30:34

I have come to talk to Lesley who is the control duty manager.

0:30:340:30:38

We're up in the important bit over here.

0:30:380:30:40

We don't get the chance to chat very often.

0:30:400:30:42

How much has it increased by, your workload? Say, for example, when you get real blizzard conditions?

0:30:420:30:47

Probably about four times as many calls as normal.

0:30:470:30:50

Four times as many calls? Presumably under those circumstances

0:30:500:30:54

it is difficult to get your people into work, as hard as it is to get anyone else into work?

0:30:540:30:59

The last time we had snow, we hired 4x4s.

0:30:590:31:02

That was to get the staff in and also to get them home and also to get to patients on some occasions.

0:31:020:31:08

You always wonder about that - how does the snowplough driver get to work? So you send out 4x4s.

0:31:080:31:13

What about in terms of dealing with emergencies? Because ambulances aren't 4x4s either?

0:31:130:31:18

No. On the day, when it snows, we open a major incident room.

0:31:180:31:23

Which is the room we used to carry out our interviews.

0:31:230:31:26

Which we would get kicked out of if a major incident were to happen.

0:31:260:31:29

The fire brigade also help us. They have got 4x4s.

0:31:290:31:33

-That's pretty good.

-And what's even more brilliant, the public, if we got stuck trying to get up a hill,

0:31:330:31:38

-they came to our rescue on occasion which was really, really good.

-That's reassuring, isn't it?

0:31:380:31:43

I hope you don't have blizzard conditions again because it makes your life pretty difficult.

0:31:430:31:47

-It certainly does.

-Thanks for chatting. That's what it's like here - what's it like out and about?

0:31:470:31:53

Anna can tell us all about that. She was out and about manning an ambulance when that was all going on

0:31:530:31:57

and, Anna, you were in those blizzard conditions. What was it like?

0:31:570:32:01

Because it was totally covered in snow, the whole area, wasn't it?

0:32:010:32:04

It was pretty horrendous and obviously a lot of snow.

0:32:040:32:08

The ambulances kept getting stuck.

0:32:080:32:10

Calls had increased considerably.

0:32:100:32:13

And how were your ambulance getting out and about? Was it difficult?

0:32:130:32:16

It was very difficult.

0:32:160:32:17

We got stuck on a patient's drive.

0:32:170:32:20

We couldn't get to some patients.

0:32:200:32:22

The ambulance, we couldn't get up a hill.

0:32:220:32:24

So we had to get all the kit out and walk up.

0:32:240:32:27

So what sort of calls were you getting? What sort of things were you dealing with?

0:32:270:32:31

Everything from numerous elderly falls to young people falling,

0:32:310:32:36

to 30-year-olds falling off a sledge, to general illness.

0:32:360:32:42

-You mentioned that one driveway was really long.

-Yeah.

-So what did you have to do?

0:32:420:32:46

It was about a quarter of a mile. Very steep.

0:32:460:32:49

And there was about a foot of snow at the time.

0:32:490:32:51

So, we had to get all of the kit out of the ambulance and walk up there.

0:32:510:32:55

-Which is different from normal, isn't it?

-A little bit.

-Did you enjoy it in a strange way?

0:32:550:32:59

-Oh, yes. It was fun.

-Thanks for that.

0:32:590:33:03

It makes you think, doesn't it?

0:33:030:33:06

Let's spare a thought for the teams that carry out rescues in the most remote parts of the British Isles

0:33:060:33:11

in these conditions, places where the snow is waist deep and visibility is limited -

0:33:110:33:16

the only way to get a casualty down the mountain is on foot.

0:33:160:33:19

People like Alan here, Alan Howarth from the Kinder mountain rescue team, who do that very job.

0:33:190:33:25

It is tough.

0:33:250:33:26

It can be on days like that, yes.

0:33:260:33:28

And Alan has actually been making his own films.

0:33:280:33:31

-How long have you been doing that?

-About three years now.

0:33:310:33:34

I take a small hand-held camera and film as I go.

0:33:340:33:37

We were very impressed with the film that he made.

0:33:370:33:39

Let's see some of what he's made. Here we go.

0:33:390:33:42

The Peak District on a Saturday afternoon in February.

0:33:440:33:47

There have been recent blizzards, it's freezing cold and windy.

0:33:470:33:51

A team of volunteers from the Kinder mountain rescue team are trudging through the snow.

0:33:510:33:56

These video pictures are not dissimilar

0:34:070:34:10

from some you might see from a polar expedition to the Antarctic.

0:34:100:34:14

The casualty was out walking when he was taken ill.

0:34:140:34:18

Around 40 rescuers from three teams are making this difficult trek.

0:34:330:34:37

They need the numbers because the man's more than an hour's hike away

0:34:440:34:48

and carrying him back in the deep snow will be exhausting.

0:34:480:34:52

Their expertise is invaluable at finding the quickest and safest route.

0:35:010:35:07

If the rescuers stray a few inches from the path, they sink down to almost their waist in the snow.

0:35:070:35:12

Chris, floundering.

0:35:120:35:14

With visibility deteriorating, the rescuers press on.

0:35:350:35:38

Eventually they make it to the casualty.

0:35:450:35:48

Thrilling, isn't it? You're thinking - why does the film stop there? Why DOES the film stop there, Alan?

0:35:510:35:55

To be honest I ran out of batteries. I was on my third set of batteries and the weather was not helping.

0:35:550:36:00

Also, as the cameraman as well as dealing with the casualty,

0:36:000:36:03

-I believe you had to stop filming there anyway.

-Yes, we did.

0:36:030:36:05

We have caught a couple of stills. A couple of things that come to mind when you look at this.

0:36:050:36:10

-This is where you got to the casualty. He was in a pretty bad way, wasn't he?

-He was, yeah.

0:36:100:36:15

He was vomiting, chest pains. So we've got to treat that as the worst possible condition.

0:36:150:36:19

So we need to get him off as quickly as we can.

0:36:190:36:21

It looks like something off of base camp on Everest, doesn't it?

0:36:210:36:25

It's difficult to believe that the conditions can be that bad up the mountain there.

0:36:250:36:29

It was bad up there, but when I set off, shopping down in Stockport, it wasn't too bad a day at the bottom.

0:36:290:36:35

Suddenly we get a call, to assist Glossop on a call out, and we're up in waist deep snow.

0:36:350:36:40

It's incredible, the way you keep disappearing. But if there are holes underneath you can't see them.

0:36:400:36:45

The other thing that caught my attention, we got another photograph here,

0:36:450:36:49

of the number of people involved in the rescue of this one person. Why so many?

0:36:490:36:54

We need as much manpower as possible.

0:36:540:36:56

It generally takes about eight people to carry a stretcher at one time.

0:36:560:36:59

We try to do it in relays. The objective is to get him off the hill as quickly as possible.

0:36:590:37:04

So the more people we have to do that, the better.

0:37:040:37:06

Would you literally just share the workload?

0:37:060:37:11

We have a team waiting. Then we hand the stretcher over to them. People take the stretcher on further.

0:37:110:37:16

They came from three different areas - you guys came from three different areas to get there.

0:37:160:37:22

Initially it was a call for the Glossop team. They called us to assist them and when they realised

0:37:220:37:26

that they couldn't get air support they called in the Edale team as well.

0:37:260:37:30

I was going to say that. One question that comes to mind is, why are you all trekking up the hill

0:37:300:37:35

when you could have called a helicopter in to fly up to the top?

0:37:350:37:39

We did do that. We attempted to get a helicopter.

0:37:390:37:41

In most cases with this kind of serious call, we would try to go to an air ambulance

0:37:410:37:46

but in these conditions, air ambulances can't fly, in low visibility.

0:37:460:37:50

We tried and tried, but it was clear that the weather was just too bad.

0:37:500:37:54

-You're on call pretty much any time, aren't you?

-Yeah.

0:37:540:37:57

You are tucked up in bed, nice and snug, or sat in front of a fire, with a cup of cocoa,

0:37:570:38:01

then you get a call, and you're waist-deep in snow.

0:38:010:38:04

-Why would you do that?

-The excitement, it's something different.

0:38:040:38:08

I used to do a lot of mountaineering. I want to put something back into the mountaineering community

0:38:080:38:13

-but also I like that at a moment's notice, I could be off somewhere.

-How did the patient do, by the way?

0:38:130:38:18

I never found out We just literally bring the guy off the hill, put him into the back of an ambulance,

0:38:180:38:24

the ambulance takes him to hospital, sometimes you find out, sometimes you don't.

0:38:240:38:27

We're all very pleased you're there to do the job you do.

0:38:270:38:30

And I'm sure he was, too. Thanks, nice talking to you.

0:38:300:38:33

Now, shiny, brand-new bicycle is exciting, whatever your age.

0:38:330:38:36

So, when 18 year-old Jenny was knocked off hers on her first outing,

0:38:360:38:40

she was more concerned about the bike and she was about herself.

0:38:400:38:43

Rapid-response paramedic Neil Milum has been sent urgently to a road accident.

0:38:450:38:50

As he makes his way, more details continue to filter through on the computer.

0:38:500:38:55

Looks like we're going to an 18-year-old female,

0:38:550:38:58

looks like she's been hit by a car.

0:38:580:39:01

It is a worrying sight.

0:39:030:39:05

Jenny is still lying where she landed in the middle of the street.

0:39:050:39:09

-My head hurts!

-Anything else apart from your head?

0:39:090:39:13

And my back.

0:39:130:39:15

Whereabouts are you hurt on your back?

0:39:150:39:18

There.

0:39:180:39:19

When she hit the car, Jenny wasn't wearing a helmet.

0:39:190:39:22

Where is your blood coming from?

0:39:220:39:24

On my head.

0:39:240:39:26

All right, I've got it, OK.

0:39:280:39:30

My phone's ringing.

0:39:300:39:32

Don't worry about your phone.

0:39:320:39:33

She's bleeding from a small cut to her head after falling heavily.

0:39:360:39:41

Mum Julie arrives to offer some comfort to her daughter.

0:39:410:39:45

Mum?

0:39:480:39:49

SHE SOBS

0:39:490:39:51

-OK.

-Neil's called for an ambulance.

0:39:510:39:53

It's the pain in Jenny's back that concerns him most.

0:39:530:39:57

After hitting the road hard, there's a chance she may have a spinal injury.

0:39:570:40:02

We'll get the trolley out and a board. She's got

0:40:020:40:06

central tenderness.

0:40:060:40:09

-I can walk.

-No, you can't walk, Jenny.

0:40:090:40:12

Just relax, all right?

0:40:120:40:14

-Stop doing stuff.

-Sorry.

0:40:140:40:16

Despite Jenny's protests, trying to walk too soon could aggravate any underlying damage to her back.

0:40:170:40:24

Jenny's new method of transport hasn't worked out too well.

0:40:240:40:29

-Only got it yesterday.

-It's all right, don't worry.

0:40:290:40:32

You got the bike yesterday? Hasn't ridden one for ages.

0:40:320:40:36

-That's no good.

-Should have bought a crash helmet.

0:40:360:40:39

Yeah.

0:40:390:40:42

To keep her neck steady, the team fit Jenny with a collar.

0:40:420:40:45

They have to get her into the ambulance in such a way

0:40:450:40:49

that her spine is kept as straight as possible.

0:40:490:40:52

OK, so when we lay you down, OK, you're only going to be

0:40:520:40:54

half on the board, then we're going to slide you on to the rest of it.

0:40:540:40:58

OK?

0:40:580:40:59

-Oh, my head.

-Yeah, all right, all right.

0:40:590:41:01

Just try and relax for us, hon.

0:41:010:41:03

Sorry.

0:41:030:41:06

-OK, stay where you are.

-Don't move for us, darling, all right?

0:41:060:41:09

Are you able to pop your arms across your chest for us?

0:41:090:41:13

Jenny seems more concerned about the welfare of her day-old bike than herself.

0:41:130:41:18

Mum goes to the rescue.

0:41:180:41:21

Do you want to take my stuff home? I can't leave my bike here.

0:41:210:41:24

Don't leave it here.

0:41:270:41:29

Medically speaking, it's a good sign that Jenny is so aware of her surroundings.

0:41:300:41:35

No apparent loss of consciousness. She remembers what she was doing.

0:41:350:41:38

She remembers what day it is today.

0:41:380:41:40

When we get to QA, we'll try to get you off this as soon as possible

0:41:400:41:43

because they appreciate how uncomfortable it is.

0:41:430:41:47

For the trip to the Queen Alexandra Hospital, Jenny will be trussed up securely to protect her.

0:41:470:41:53

Mum, will you take my bike home?

0:41:530:41:57

One, two, three...

0:41:570:41:59

-Oh.

-She arrived here on two wheels, but Jenny will have to leave on four.

0:41:590:42:04

It's a dramatic exit but Neil is confident that she won't suffer any further dramas down the line.

0:42:040:42:10

She wasn't wearing a helmet, so she's been very lucky just to sustain an abrasion to her head.

0:42:100:42:16

Hopefully, it won't be too long before Jenny is back in the saddle.

0:42:160:42:21

The good news is, Jenny is cycling again and she's doing just fine.

0:42:210:42:26

Just an update on a couple of things we'd been talking about.

0:42:260:42:29

Remember that boy with his mum, she was having chest pains, she was on the motorway -

0:42:290:42:34

they managed to get an ECG on the ambulance, and she is on her way to hospital.

0:42:340:42:38

He did fantastically, bringing the ambulance in, and staying calm on the phone.

0:42:380:42:42

Also that child Who had their hand stuck in the escalator. It sounded terribly painful.

0:42:420:42:46

-It was treated at the scene. Is on their way home.

-Excellent. That's all wrapped up then, isn't it?

0:42:460:42:50

-It is, indeed.

-More Real Rescues soon.

-Bye-bye.

0:42:500:42:53

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:150:43:17

E-mail [email protected]

0:43:170:43:20

Nick Knowles and Louise Minchin present dramatic events from the day-to-day work of the emergency services, going behind the scenes at one of Britain's biggest police control centres.

Rescuers battle waist-deep snow to help an injured climber, while a helicopter attempts to rescue the crew of a wrecked trawler.