Nick Knowles and Louise Minchin present dramatic events from the work of the emergency services. This episode contains the three-day mid-ocean rescue of a wrecked sailing ship.
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Today on Real Rescues, a three-day marathon rescue at sea.
A square-rigged sailing ship is wrecked 150 miles from land when a sudden storm snaps off its masts.
Nearly 50 people, including schoolchildren, are in danger.
And a random act of violence. But it's not just a car that goes up in flames,
a man's independence goes up with it.
It's my husband's way of having some freedom, so I am very coldly angry.
Hello, and welcome to Real Rescues
from this very impressive control room
for the South Western Ambulance service.
Yes, the team here take calls
from a major slice of the South West of England,
and they are busy taking 10,000 calls a month,
not just from people who live here,
but also from the 17.5 million people who visit this area every year.
Over here on my left are lots of the call takers
and with me here behind me is Sam.
She's control officer, she's in charge today.
Hello to the dispatchers and schedulers! Morning, everyone.
Those that can speak are speaking, those that can't, obviously getting on with their calls.
This is the team that gets ambulances to the right places in the shortest possible time.
And of course when they're busy on a call, we won't be disturbing them.
Now, Real Rescues features all of the UK's emergency services,
in the air, on land and, for this next rescue, at sea.
The tall ship Fryderyk Chopin is dead in the water
after a freak storm has snapped two of her masts.
Her rigging is dragging in the sea and she needs help fast.
Nearly 50 lives are at stake, many of them Polish schoolchildren.
It's going to take real determination and skill
from the tiniest ship in the area to bring her to safety.
A battered and broken square-rigger is drifting helplessly in the Atlantic.
It looks like a scene out of the history books...
..but this is a modern-day emergency and it's happening 100 miles off the Isles of Scilly.
Onboard the tall ship the Fryderyk Chopin are 47 people,
most of them young Polish teenaged sea cadets.
In charge is Captain Baranski.
His ship's foremast is smashed after a freak gust.
The main mast is broken too. He's run out of options.
He maydays Falmouth Coastguard.
Teacher Martin Tyfa felt something ominous and dashed up on deck.
Well, I just felt
a very unusual vibration of the whole hull.
And then the first mate appeared and said that the foremast is down.
So, within seconds, we were on the deck,
and the scene was, you know, unbelievable.
It was a nightmare, you know.
There's danger from above and below.
One broken mast is dangling loose over the deck.
The other is in the water, dragging against the hull.
There was some danger that the hull can be damaged,
and also then it would be a disaster because the ship could sink.
The Coast Guard knows this ship is dead in the water.
47 people are onboard and a long way from land,
too far away and too many people to attempt an air-sea rescue.
The Fryderyk Chopin is here, 100 miles away from the Isles of Scilly.
It's on the extreme of our search-and-rescue facilities range.
We've got a helicopter base here at Culdrose.
They came to forward readiness
and refuelled on the Isles of Scilly in the event of the situation deteriorating.
But apart from that we're relying on merchant shipping,
any other ship that's able to help us in the area.
The rescue will have to be by sea.
The St Mary's lifeboat from the Isles of Scilly is launched
as the Coast Guards use their satellite technology
to identify and contact nearby shipping.
Back onboard the Fryderyk Chopin, all thoughts are for the safety of the children.
If something happened to them, it would be a disaster.
So they were ordered to go down and they obeyed this rule,
the first time without any argument.
All Captain Baranski can do is make his broken ship as safe as possible.
One of the crew is sent up to secure the remains of the mast.
Of course there was some danger,
but, you know, but it was a risk which should be taken.
Back at Falmouth, merchant ships and fishermen are replying to the mayday.
We rapidly got information back from ships who were obeying the sort of unwritten rule of the sea...
if they're in a position to be able to assist, they will divert from their own crossing, their own passage
to be able to go and help.
The Chopin is not alone. Four vessels are in the area,
two large tankers, a French fishing trawler and, from Cornwall, the smallest of them all,
the trawler the Nova Spero.
Mayday is "Come and help me. We're in big trouble." So that's what we did.
The Nova Spero is just 40 miles away,
but she's sailing into gale-force winds. It could take her six hours to get there.
Back onboard the crippled Chopin, the captain's decided to keep all his passengers on the ship.
To take somebody from the ship by helicopter, for example,
with waves of 6 or 7 metres, certainly some accident would happen.
So my decision was that they should stay onboard,
and that they should be taken to the nearest harbour.
The crew know the only way they can get to shore is under tow,
but Falmouth is 150 miles away.
Help is now visible on the horizon.
The container ship, the MSC Nerissa has arrived,
but connecting the two ships by a tow rope is to prove unsuccessful.
We were facing the situation
where the two merchant ships that had arrived on scene
had said that they were too big to be able to effectively make the tow,
to be able to pass the rope across and to be able to conduct it.
A French fishing vessel arrived on scene as well
and he attempted to establish a tow as well and he couldn't do it.
It's now up to the little Cornish fishing vessel the Nova Spero
to pull off this mighty and lengthy rescue,
but she's already been battling through strong winds for more than five hours,
and still isn't on the scene.
And we'll see later how the crew of the tiny Nova Spero
put themselves at great risk in an attempt to attach a tow line.
-I want to speak to Caroline here who's a paramedic, also clinical supervisor. You OK to talk?
You were called to a man who'd been crushed by a huge church bell. What had happened?
He was just doing maintenance work on an upturned bell,
and, one way or another, it managed to fall on him,
-and crush his pelvis.
-And he was pretty badly injured, was he?
He was severely injured. He had a fractured pelvis and he was bleeding internally.
What do you do in that sort of situation? What's your priority?
The priority was to get him out,
but, obviously, because he was in the bell tower, we had to get him down a spiral staircase,
so we had to get specialist fire crews in to help us with that.
-Which was a pretty tricky operation, was it?
-Yeah, it was.
And then at the bottom of the staircase we then had to lower him into the main church
-and get him out that way.
-And how on earth did they do that, then?
They just sort of abseiled him off of the side into the main church building.
What an extraordinary story. And tell me, is he OK, the man? Because he was really badly injured.
Yeah, he's made a full recovery, but it was a very long process, so...
-Caroline, thank you very much.
-All right. Thank you.
There are places not to have accidents, and up a bell tower is obviously one of them!
Now, when police officer Jo Funnell collapses with chest pains, it's a fire-fighter who comes to her aid.
And he happens to be her husband, Martin.
It's thanks to his professionalism that he stays so calm.
This is the emergency call he made.
Now, this is Martin who you could actually hear in that call.
I have to say you were incredibly calm. Most people who have a partner that ill,
are going berserk on the phone.
I think I just went into automatic mode.
I was so shocked and surprised first of all
-that Jo had actually become so ill so quickly.
-No sign of it, then?
-No lead up to it?
-Nothing, totally unexpected,
and I think all the training... everything I'd done in the years of being in the fire service
just suddenly kicked in and it didn't really matter that it was Jo,
it was just a case of making sure everything was done to ensure she was...do the best I could for her.
And so were you performing CPR or something at that stage
or were you literally just looking for advice?
I was listening to the advice given by the call operator,
I was preparing myself to do CPR,
and to be honest that was when it first kicked in that it was Jo that was lying on the floor.
Extraordinary! Martin was determined to keep calm
as his 12-year-old son Josh was beginning to get very upset.
It was the best strategy as Jo was in pain and her condition was about to become critical.
Let's go back to the call.
Tony Gilbert was in the ambulance that arrived there.
How obvious was it that it was a heart-attack situation?
It was very obvious. My colleague Richard
who had arrived on scene first of all handed over to us
that Jo was presenting
-with obvious signs of having a heart attack.
-How do you know what those signs are, briefly?
It varies from person to person,
but people will get some central chest pain which may radiate into their arm or into their neck,
-and they'll feel very, very unwell quite quickly.
But if they want to know more about the signs and symptoms, best to go to the British Heart Foundation website
and have a look. They've got some excellent information.
-Once you got her into the ambulance, it actually became even more serious, didn't it?
We wanted to get Jo into the ambulance to give her some pain relief,
cos she was in a lot of distress, and, unfortunately, within a few minutes of being on the ambulance,
she suffered the first of two cardiac arrests that she had whilst she was with us.
Two in the ambulance? And what was it that caused it?
The heart attack itself would have caused the cardiac arrest.
-And it was a blood clot that caused the heart attack?
A blood clot in the heart will lead to electrical activity not doing what it's supposed to do in the heart,
-and that will lead to a cardiac arrest.
-All right. Thank you very much.
You might like to know that Jo did very well, well enough in fact that she can join us here.
-You're looking very well, Jo!
-Thank you very much.
-And this is Josh who you heard about as well.
-Because Josh was obviously... Very frightening for you, I should imagine, Josh.
But I knew what was happening,
and I knew that the professionals were on their way to help,
-and they did well to keep my mum alive.
-Jo, listening to that, are you a bit miffed that he was so calm?
Sounds like he'd gone off to make a cup of coffee!
He's incredibly calm!
Having been a former police officer yourself,
you know that calm is really important in those situations.
That's right, yeah.
We both had to remain calm, really, just to get through it, I think.
-Very, very terrifying.
-How are you feeling at the moment?
Were you impressed with the doctors and everybody that was involved?
the NHS certainly is sort of one of the best services that you can get in this country, I'd say.
-Fancy being a doctor?
-Really? Really you do?
I'd love to be a cardiologist when I'm older, so...
Well, that's fantastic, isn't it?
So...listen... presumably you were amazed yourself,
having been so often at an accident or a situation as a professional,
to be in that situation and watch people move around you?
It's...I work with the ambulance service and the other emergency services almost on a daily basis,
but to actually have them in your own front room, doing what they do best, and showing...
We hear a lot of complaints about the NHS and what's good and what's bad about it,
but I can't thank the lads enough and the whole of the NHS for the way that they performed
and brought Jo back to where she is now.
Lovely! It's great to see you, great to see you looking so well.
-Hell of a job you've got, isn't it?
-It certainly is!
-Thank you very much for doing it.
-Thank you, everybody.
Still to come on Real Rescues...
we'd all be upset if our car went up in flames,
but what if it's ruined your car and wrecked your husband's life as well?
I've now got a husband who's housebound thanks to whoever this person was.
There's nothing dumb about this dummy.
Meet Simulation or Sim Man - the medical training device which talks!
Is anybody there?
Come and help me! I'm not feeling very well.
Today we are following one of the longest rescues we've seen at sea.
The Fryderyk Chopin is a sail-training ship with 36 Polish students aboard,
but today one of the world's most exciting classrooms is stricken in gale-force winds.
She's too far from land for an air-sea rescue
and it's up to a small fishing boat to save her.
It's getting late on a Friday afternoon.
The tall ship the Fryderyk Chopin has been drifting helplessly since 8am.
47 people are onboard and their only hope of getting safely to shore is under tow.
Three ships have failed to get a tow line onboard.
All hope rests with the Cornish trawler the Nova Spero.
The wind is coming up from this direction
and the Nova Spero is beating into the very, very heavy weather,
and it takes it 6 hours to do that 40 miles to get itself on scene.
As a father himself, the skipper's thoughts are for the children onboard.
I knew there was 47 people onboard.
I knew that there was 36 students.
I thought, "Well, my daughter's only 18 months younger than a lot of them onboard, you know."
It must be quite frightening at times, I would have thought.
The number-one objective was to get them to Falmouth safe and sound.
At last, after six hours of heavy sailing, they've made it.
The square-rigger is finally in their sights.
She was a mess, you know, a beautiful twin-masted sail-training vessel,
but she looked a mess.
I assessed the situation. Out of the four vessels there, I knew we was the best option she had,
provided we could get a rope on to her before dark.
With only an hour of daylight left, Shaun and his crew have to work fast.
They can't do it alone.
There was fantastic cooperation on scene between all the vessels.
The French fishing vessel helped the Nova Spero,
the Overseas Andromar gave its tow line...
The Fryderyk Chopin is being sheltered from the worst of the weather
by one of the container ships.
The conditions are hazardous.
One gust could slam the trawler against the tall ship with devastating consequences.
Us being a timber boat, if we got picked up and thrown on to her,
we would have smashed...you know, we'd have had pretty severe damage to our own vessel.
It takes great seamanship and commitment.
Neither is in question as they attempt to attach the tow line.
We came downwind...
sometimes too close,
but the lads did a fantastic job, you know, it went well...
It went as well as it could have gone.
The lifeline can now be clearly seen running between the Fryderyk Chopin and its tiny saviour.
We've got four people onboard the fishing boat who have sort of taken the time, the effort and commitment
to try and tow this vessel 100, 150 miles back to the mainland.
It's a very difficult operation, and for the captain onboard
who's then having to deal with the situation
where he's taken sort of tacit responsibility
for the lives of everybody who he's now got on the end of the tow rope behind him.
She was a big, big ship to tow.
Yes, I looked at the lads...
you know, she's a big lump of boat.
It's taken a day to get a rescue ship and a tow line attached.
The Nova Spero is now hauling its mighty load through the large swell,
but everyone knows just how difficult a task this is and how far they still have to go.
The danger isn't cleared at any point. Yes, they're on a tow line,
but they've still got masts, rigging, wires, bits of metal poking out on the ship,
they're towing this ship through the night and with a forecast of increasingly poor conditions as well.
As day becomes night, the rescue mission continues.
Below decks, the children are preparing for a rough night in worsening weather.
Dry land may be more than a day away.
I couldn't sleep, and everyone wasn't able to sleep,
because how can you sleep? You have to be on standby every minute.
We have our jackets on, so we didn't even go to our beds,
we were just lying in the gangway, in the corridor.
The convoy creeps on through the dark night and choppy seas.
If the ship needs evacuating, it will be up to the RNLI volunteer lifeboat crew to come to the rescue.
Land is 90 miles away.
The little trawler can only manage speeds of a few knots.
It's going to be one of the longest rescues from these waters.
Well, skipper Shaun knew nothing of what was going on behind the scenes during the rescue.
The British and Polish Prime Ministers have spoken on the phone.
And over in Poland the whole nation is watching each move Shaun makes.
We've already heard on the programme how an ambulance crew saved a woman
after she had not one but two heart attacks.
Obviously, the teams here can't train for that on real people, so they have Mr Simulation Man.
-Hello, Sim Man, how are you?
-Good morning. Not too good.
-Rob, I think he's going to need some help from you.
-I think I recognise you.
-Aren't you the lady off the TV?
Yes, but I'm a bit more concerned about you. What's your name?
I feel a lot better now.
My name's Phil.
He's incredibly realistic, Rob. This is how you train people, isn't it?
-It is, and we've got to make it as real as we can for our staff and students.
Obviously, as you say, you can't practise on a real person.
-So we use a plastic person that they can stick needles in
-and he always dies!
-He frightened me when I touched him. He seemed to groan.
So you can see his chest... He's also got a pulse as well, hasn't he?
Yes, pulse is from the wrist.
-We can do the brachial pulses, we can do BPs...
Er...carotid pulses, we can listen to the chest, listen to the heart, listen to the abdomen...
-so as real as we can.
-A really clever piece of kit.
He can also have various things happen to him like anaphylactic shock, for example, can't he?
Yeah, just one of the conditions we can set,
and, you know, his tongue can swell.
OK. Phil, how are you feeling now?
-I'm not too good. My tongue and throat are really hurting, they're swelling.
We can get the tutor who's running Phil to actually give information over the other speakers.
OK, so what's going on here? If he was in anaphylactic shock...
Oh, I can see. His tongue is actually swelling, isn't it?
So that would make it difficult.
-Other things as well, for example, cardiac arrest.
-Yeah, we can make the cardiac arrest happen.
And most students that come in think he's going to have a cardiac arrest anyway,
-cos that's what Sim Man's designed for.
-I can see his chest isn't moving now,
-so does that mean he's in trouble?
-It's probably not good and he's gone quiet.
-OK, shall I leave you to sort that out?
-Thank you very much.
-Phil, Phil, can you hear me?
-So I'll leave Rob... This is clearly a training situation.
The person who's training him is Phil who's in here, and Phil's got the controls of everything.
-No breathing, no pulse.
-OK, so that's what we know is wrong with him.
And, Phil, you can monitor it literally here on the screen, can't you, what Rob is doing.
You can actually record the actual interventions.
And you can see he's starting chest compressions and there it is on your screen.
And we can actually sort of critique afterwards by sort of reviewing the videos
-as to how well Rob has performed.
-How's he doing?
-He's doing OK at the moment. Fingers crossed for the patient.
And you can also see the air going into the lungs. Shall we have a look there?
Yeah, as Rob inflates the lungs with the bag valve mask,
it should pick up the inflations in the lungs,
and when he starts chest compressions, again the indication comes on to the monitor.
-The indication being that little red spot?
-The little red spot in the chest.
That actually records start time and stop time as well as the compressions,
and you can actually sort of...
as the paramedic or student
or staff actually sort of performs an intervention,
you can actually record that
-on the system.
-And look back at it afterwards. How useful is this?
It's a good tool, because it's good that you can actually sort of... real-time situations...
-But not a real person.
-Not a real person, yeah.
-Thank you very much.
I'm going to leave Sim Man. He clearly needs a lot of work done on him. He's having a bad day.
Every week in this country 1,400 cars are damaged or destroyed by arson.
It's an amazing figure. We were shocked ourselves.
In this rescue, fire-fighters are racing, not just to save one car, but a whole street.
It's early evening, Green Watch are tearing through the streets of Southampton.
A car's alight and reports are the fire's spreading along the road.
Straight on, mate. Hairpin to the left.
Watch manager Sean Foster catches first sight of the flames as they turn the last corner.
Yeah, it's going quite well.
GH 54 Whisky Lima, over.
GH 54 Whisky Lima, in attendance. Car well alight. Over.
The car is burning fiercely.
To make matters worse, a line of burning fuel is running down the road.
It's already reached the car parked behind.
Flames are licking at its tyres.
-We've got petrol dripping down there.
-I'll have a look.
An entire street of vehicles is at risk.
Close on Sean's heels is Paul Beckett. He's got the hose ready to use.
Do you want me to take it?
Yeah, let's... Let me have it, Paul.
-Have I got water on?
It's rare for an incident commander to tackle flames himself,
but the car was seconds from flaring up.
Now he's kitted up in breathing apparatus, Paul Shepherd can take over.
It's a running-fuel fire. Put it out, mate.
He and Richie Green get in closer to tackle the main fire.
Within seconds, they've started to knock it back.
The owners are still unaware of what's been going on.
The local police officer is here and has briefed Sean.
It looks unlikely that this was an accident.
ROAR OF HELICOPTER
You can probably hear the noise.
The noise is from the police helicopter that's out searching for suspects.
The police seem to think that they deliberately set light to this car.
The police suspect arson. The Neighbourhood Watch have been on alert
after a spare of burglaries in the area.
A member of the public phoned up and said she saw two males
that weren't really in keeping with the area.
She challenged them and then they made off.
Then shortly afterwards this vehicle fire came in,
so, possibly, two and two maybe making five, but we're looking for two males.
Obviously, they've got an overall view of the area with their night vision,
so fingers crossed.
The worst of the fire is out, but there are still flames underneath the bonnet.
Richie Green rips it open with a wrecking tool.
As they douse the last of the hot spots, the owner of the car parked behind
has arrived to check out any damage.
When I arrived, I could see flames licking up around here. Your front tyre's gone by the look...
-No, it hasn't!
-No, it's all right.
-You've got a bit of bubbling.
-That's not an issue.
A bit there.
You're lucky. I thought the tyre had gone as well.
-You hit it the second you got there.
This man was lucky. Sean's quick action has saved his vehicle,
but the driver of the car at the centre of the fire has yet to find out.
It's more than a car that's gone up in smoke here, it's a man's independence.
Sean's next job is to investigate how it all started and gather evidence.
Yes, there are further repercussions from this car fire
and the owners are understandably furious with good reason.
We'll meet them later. Louise.
Thank you very much. I've just been talking to Elaine. You're a nurse here.
-You give medical backup to the call-takers here.
Sometimes you talk to patients as well.
-I know that when you're off-duty, you're not actually off-duty, are you?
-No, I've had a few.
OK. Incidents on planes, particularly. Tell me about a little girl who had an earache.
We had a little girl on the plane who was very distressed,
crying a lot, her mum was at the end of her tether.
And she happened to be quite close to me, so I offered my support.
It was quite clear to me that she seemed to have pain in her ear,
cos she was holding the side of her head.
So I quickly guessed that it was probably something to do with the altitude,
so we just got her a drink, she drank it through a straw and swallowing helped to relieve the pressure.
And when you hear that call, "Is there a doctor, is there a nurse on the plane?"
your heart must stop, but you respond to those, don't you?
Of course, yeah, absolutely.
First of all you might get, "Is there a doctor?" and then you just wait, because...
-And you had one really important one, didn't you?
-Absolutely, yeah, there was no doctor on the plane,
so I went down to see if I could assist on the call,
and I immediately saw a gentleman who was quite poorly.
He was quite grey, he was cold, sweaty, and not really responsive at all.
So I sat down next to him and just spoke to him and tried to reassure him.
He couldn't really speak and there was an obvious weakness on one side,
so I began to suspect that he might have been having a stroke, OK?
But I sat with him for a while and slowly he started to recover,
and as I started to feel more relaxed,
one of the stewards came up behind me and said, "Elaine, do you think we need to divert the plane?"
-And you said...no?
-I said no. I said I was happy that we could make it to our destination.
-Right decision. And they gave you a bottle of champagne!
-Absolutely! Got the bubbles at the end!
Let's take you back to that stricken sailing ship, the Fryderyk Chopin.
She's 90 miles from land and a fishing boat, a third of her size, is towing her to safety.
As the convoy heads into the night, the weather is getting worse.
It's Saturday morning, day 2 in the mission to rescue the square-rigged training vessel,
the Fryderyk Chopin.
The Cornish fishing boat is hauling a ship three times her size,
but her skipper knows she's up to the task.
My vessel was built for towing.
She's not a tug, she's a fishing boat,
but she was built for towing, you know, trawls and nets on the seabed.
The difference is you're not just thinking about yourself and your own crew,
you're thinking about the people on the ship you're trying to get to a safe haven.
There's still a long way to go and there's bad weather ahead.
The convoy is being escorted by three lifeboats.
If the fallen mast smashes the hull or the tow rope is snagged,
it will be the lifeboat volunteer crew who will come to the rescue.
They're ready to act at a moment's notice.
Fundamental was how were we going to get these people off in a hurry
if the situation had deteriorated,
and if it had deteriorated, it would have deteriorated quick.
If it was one or two people,
it probably would have been relatively straightforward,
but they've got 47. And with the best will in the world, you might have suffered injuries and damage.
And it wasn't the right thing to even consider at the stage we were at,
other than being prepared to do it if necessary.
The lifeboats are a very reassuring presence for all.
It was like having a mate alongside you, really.
As darkness falls on the second night, the conditions become extremely difficult.
The wind turned to the southeast,
and of course it was very strong,
so the fishing vessel which was towing us
has not so strong an engine,
so we were going very slowly, 2 knots or even during sometimes 1 knot,
That was an up-all-night job, that was, just trying to hold on to her, really.
I sort of emphasised, "Can you check your end of the tow rope?" every hour,
and then they would report back that his end of the tow rope was good and then he would report to Falmouth.
The lifeboat crew continually check the broken mast has not breached the hull below the water.
It takes the strongest sea legs to endure this constant rolling.
We took a turn around the Fryderyk Chopin and we noticed that the ship's bowsprit had broken off
and that was hanging down ahead of the bow,
and we were concerned that that was hitting the hull,
and we went in and illuminated that and had a good close look,
and the captain of the ship said that he was happy that it was clear of the hull.
We then ran up and had a yarn with the skipper of the Nova Spero,
and they had a really, really uncomfortable time.
In the fishing boat they were rolling
and they were towing so therefore held by the stern across the weather,
so they were just rolling, their rail's under, basically, and very, very slow progress.
But he was happy and gave us the thumbs-up and what have you,
so it went on through the night.
Dawn breaks after the longest and most difficult of nights.
The weather's eased and the final passage into Falmouth is calm.
The crew of the Nova Spero have been working at the extremes.
They're exhausted but, like the Coast Guard, relieved.
Very happy, very happy when they came in.
And probably unusually we made sure that we went down to the boathouse to see everybody come ashore.
Really interesting to see these children sort of not only coming off,
but not looking scared or frightened, but actually excited and invigorated by the whole thing,
so absolutely delighted that it turned out safely.
Captain Baranski's decision to keep all the children with him onboard the Fryderyk Chopin
has proved to be the right one.
Of course in such situations, the most important thing
is to act...you know, not in panic,
but to do what is necessary to do.
The Polish Ambassador has travelled from London to pass on a nation's thanks
to the crew of the Nova Spero.
We can't be thankful enough to the captain of the Nova Spero.
Shaun onboard who I saw when they came in,
he did look absolutely shattered.
When I spoke to him, he said, "Well, I couldn't have left those children there.
"Once I saw the ship, I couldn't leave it." He fought to get the line onboard.
And he was the one who constantly kept it going.
You know, the lifeboats were all absolutely shattered,
we were worried about them being out for 20 hours at a time,
and yet here Shaun was onboard the Nova Spero with his crew
that kept this going from the moment they arrived on scene
until the moment that all the children were disembarked in Falmouth.
What they did is a remarkable feat.
We heard Shaun Edwards say, "I couldn't have left those children there."
He and his crew worked in extreme conditions for over 48 hours.
Even though Shaun's livelihood depended on the fish he catches, he dropped everything.
We've seen on Real Rescues before how sailors go selflessly to the aid of fellow mariners.
We saw the huge Burmese tanker that changed course
to save the stricken British yacht Octagon and take the passengers on board.
And then there was the captain of the Mizpah who cut his fishing nets adrift
to race to save his friend on the burning ship Be Ready.
It was a heroic rescue in raging seas.
One of the country's most famous sailors and the first person to sail around the world single-handed
is Sir Robin Knox-Johnston who's been good enough to come in and have a chat with us about this.
Is it honour that you go help people out at sea or is it enshrined in law, which?
Well, nowadays it's enshrined in law.
You have to go to the assistance of a boat if it's in distress,
and what happens is most boats have an alarm system so it'll go off on your boat,
and you realise someone's in distress, you might even pick it up.
And you'll get on to the nearest control centre like the Coast Guard,
and you'll say, "I'm available, do you want me to assist?"
And the Coast Guard will choose the most suitable and the closest vessel.
And they are obliged to go to assist.
Is it right that that change came about because of the Titanic, by the way?
Yes. I mean, there was such a fuss about the loss of the Titanic...
she didn't have enough lifesaving equipment onboard to start with.
So they said, "We've really got to do something to stop this sort of thing happening again."
-And there was confusion about which ship was closest... There were a lot of issues with the Titanic.
You run training vessels with youngsters onboard,
so you can see for this square-rigger that we've seen here,
it must have been very frightening for all the kids onboard and for the people looking after them.
Well, I looked at it and thought, "I wouldn't like to be in the captain's position!"
He can't use his engine, he's lost his sails,
and he's got all these youngsters onboard who naturally will be frightened.
I thought, "You're jolly lucky someone came along to tow you!"
Have you ever been rescued or had to go to the aid of someone at sea?
-You've had adventures all round the world.
-I've been towed in a couple of times.
When I was an apprentice in the Merchant Navy, we picked up the SOS from the Pamir,
which was a German sail-training ship but we were too far away to offer assistance,
but I think about 70 people died in that, it was quite nasty.
But we offered to assist,
and the Coast Guard said, "No, you're too far away, we've got ships that are closer."
It's wonderful that everyone turns out for each other, even if it is enshrined in law.
-It's always been the sailors' way.
-It has. You do it without thinking.
-It may be the law, but you just do it.
-Lovely to chat to you. Thank you.
A car has been completely destroyed by fire.
The first signs point to arson.
As fire-fighters and police look for clues,
they discover the consequences of this particular fire are devastating.
Fire-fighters Richie Green and Paul Shepherd are continuing to cool down the burnt-out remains of the car.
Overhead is the police helicopter, but their search has so far failed to find the suspects.
Watch manager Sean and PC Gary Morgan look for evidence in the wreckage.
-You were saying?
-If you look at the seats here...totally gone.
-If you look in the front now I've put that window in...
You can see the fire's gone from the back to the front.
-If you look at the front of the seats, they are burnt, but look...
-Yeah, got you, yeah.
So the fire started in that corner.
Anne, whose husband owns the car, has come to take a closer look at the damage.
Now, this dent, that wasn't here earlier today. That's new.
Lady says that dent wasn't there, that crease.
And the door... if you look at the door...
It looks like it may have been forced open.
-When we got here it was only this side that was going.
Running-fuel fires are not that common to be honest.
We get quite a lot of car fires, but not many running-fuel fires.
So I think someone's possibly had a go at the tank as well.
I couldn't be 100%, but I'm 95% sure that's what it is.
-I'll get it recovered.
-All right, lovely. Thank you.
It would be upsetting for anyone to find their car wrecked in this way,
but for Anne and husband Richard it's much more than that.
Richard suffers from multiple sclerosis and the car has been specially adapted for his needs.
My husband's way of having some independence and freedom and going out on his own.
At the moment, I am very coldly angry.
Er..and a bit numb. But underneath that...
is just a despair as to why people can be stooping so low to destroy a vehicle,
anybody's vehicle, but especially somebody who's known around the street as being a good neighbour,
and is known in the area, and who is clearly disabled and has a disabled sticker.
And it gets worse. In the back of the car are the remains of Richard's wheelchair,
another vital means of mobility destroyed by the fire.
I'm just looking at the car behind me and it's just...
It's heartbreaking. I've now got a husband who's housebound thanks to whoever this person was.
Richard has arrived to salvage anything he can from the ashes.
It doesn't matter if you can't find them.
I've got keys, but they won't work, will they?
Probably not. It might open manually...I don't know.
Don't worry if you can't.
-Oh, you're a hero!
You come over for tea, mate!
They've found Richard's glasses and a favourite travelling companion.
- You got your polar bear, did you? - Polar bear's been rescued, yeah.
The great polar bear. It was white. It's now turned into a black bear.
I've been miles with my polar bear.
Despite their shock and distress, Richard and Anne still manage to share a joke.
You could do with some new tyres.
Your tyres are a bit bald. I'll give you a warning about your tyres.
Can you give me a warning about the wheelchair tyres as well?
I'll let you off on that!
It's annoying because it's actually going to cost the NHS as well. The wheelchair was designed for him.
It costs everyone, doesn't it?
The car is ruined,
but Anne's still full of gratitude.
That one needs a hug, that one. He's the housewives' favourite, this one.
You've been brilliant...
absolutely brilliant, all of you.
It's an extraordinary figure, isn't it? 1,400 cars affected by arson every week.
-And what else did we learn today?
If you're going to have an accident, try not to have one in a church bell tower,
cos it's going to be difficult to get out.
Somewhere where they can get to you easily. Remember that if you can!
That's all from Real Rescues today. Join us next time. We'll see you then. Bye-bye.
Somebody help me, please!
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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Going behind the scenes at one of Britain's biggest ambulance control centres, Nick Knowles and Louise Minchin present dramatic events from the day-to-day work of the emergency services.
This episode contains the three-day mid-ocean rescue of a wrecked sailing ship with 50 children on board, and the emergency call that saved the life of a mother suffering a heart attack.