Episode 18 Real Rescues


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Episode 18

Nick Knowles and Louise Minchin follow the work of the emergency services. In this episode, a man falls down into the hold of a container ship and needs the coastguard helicopter.


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Today, brilliant thinking from a dock worker saves a merchant seaman

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who's fallen into the hold of a container ship.

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I grabbed hold of both bits of his arm

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and held them together, and then supported them against his body

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so he couldn't move his arm at all.

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He actually lost consciousness twice.

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How static in your carpet and even heat build-up in an oily rag

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could start a devastating fire.

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And the man who calmly strolls into an ambulance

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but within the hour needs a lifesaving operation.

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I don't want to panic you and alarm you,

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but I think that we are having a heart attack, OK?

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And it's developing whilst we're talking.

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Hello and welcome to Real Rescues. This is one of the control rooms

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operated by Thames Valley Police.

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They deal with thousands of 999 calls every week,

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and the variety of those calls is incredible.

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Later we'll talk to Christine here about a call she took

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from a woman whose car had been stolen

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with her baby still in the back.

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You might have thought Royal Mail only delivered to the British Isles,

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but you would be wrong. St Helena will get post to you

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even if you're halfway across the South Atlantic.

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It spends its time sailing between South Africa and St Helena island

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delivering mail to the British overseas territory.

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This is Lee. Hello, Lee. He's worked on that ship for over two years.

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He's in dry dock at the moment after a freak accident,

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and as we'll see, it was an unusual rescue.

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There's an emergency down at Portland Docks.

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Coastguard Helicopter Rescue 106

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has been called out to the St Helena cargo ship.

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Third officer Lee Clarke lies injured

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at the bottom of one of the holds after a nasty fall.

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A dock worker he was working with at the time, Miguel Rodriguez,

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saw the whole thing happen.

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We were about four decks down in the bottom of the holds,

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and it was the first layer of containers we were putting in.

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Lee's job was to tell us where he wanted the containers.

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He was starting to climb up a ladder, which was unsecure.

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He'd just about got to the top of the container

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when the bottom of the ladder slipped away,

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and he tried to grab hold of the container

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but his arm went underneath the ladder,

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and as it hit the ground, his arm was underneath the ladder

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and his combined weight.

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Lee has fallen a long way.

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Miguel could immediately see he was in a bad way.

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I could see that his arm was broken.

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Where it should have been straight, it was probably...

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about 90-degree angle from true.

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I didn't want him to panic more than he was,

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and I literally grabbed hold of both bits of his arm

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and held them together, then supported them against his body

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so he couldn't move his arm at all. He actually lost consciousness twice,

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so it was a case of just keep calling his name

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and just general things like joking with him,

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chatting, joking, trying taking his mind off everything

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that was happening around.

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Ambulance crew are already at the scene,

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but deep in the cargo hold, the only way to take Lee out

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is by ladder. It's impractical and risky.

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Instead, he will need to be airlifted to hospital.

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'White Sierra, this is Rescue 106.

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'Can you ask Buck if this casualty's going direct to A&E?

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'I presume he is.'

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Winch-man Buck Rogers has already been sent down from the helicopter

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to assess the situation.

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The open fracture to his arm had already been immobilised,

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with the pain under control, and it had been explained to him, I think,

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by that stage of the game, that the first and best option

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they were going to go for was for us to winch him out using the aircraft.

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'Our intention is to lower the highline into the hold.

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'You grab hold of it and you can pull the stretcher into the hold.'

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While pilot Darren Manser hovers high above the ship,

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winch-op Spike Hughes threads a line down into the cargo hold.

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'OK. I'm letting the highline go out now.

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'And steady. Left a further one.

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-'Steady. Good position. Steady.

-Contact.

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'They have the highline.'

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Now Buck has a hold of the line,

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the stretcher can be fed down and straight into his arms.

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-'Go forward. Forward two.

-Roger, forward two.

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-'Winching out.

-I'm steady.

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'Contact.'

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The team can now get Lee into the stretcher.

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The docked ship provides a stable platform to winch to,

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but still presents challenges for the pilot.

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The ship can't move to give us a better position,

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The wind was coming through the ship's superstructure,

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-so we had a little turbulence.

-'I've got the guy on the stretcher.

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'Soon as he's clear of that container, I'll move you left

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'about two units, and we'll bring him up.'

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The hairiest part of this rescue is still to come.

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Getting Buck and Lee out of this tight corner

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will require great skill on the part of winch-operator Spike Hughes.

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Any small movement by the helicopter is exaggerated

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at the bottom of the line, and could dash the pair

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into the solid steel of the ship.

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You can lower the hook into the hold. That's not a problem.

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When he then attaches the hook to the stretcher,

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that's when it starts. You don't have any second chances then.

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You've got to start conducting the winching operations,

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and you've got to move in very, very carefully, very slowly.

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Invariably, if there's any mistakes, he's the one that gets it.

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'Winching in.'

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There's lots of hazards down there, lots of things to hit.

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By having the aircraft positioned reasonably high,

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that allowed the wind to dissipate the down-draught,

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so it had less effect on the casualty.

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'You're now clear to move that right.

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'We're coming out over the side of the ship now.'

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Now they're clear of the ship with their human cargo,

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they can get the pair up and into the warm.

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A combination of the laughing gas and Buck's commentary

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helps to keep Lee's spirits up.

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If you can take their mind off what they've just experienced,

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they'll feel better about what's going on.

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What you say to the person may make them feel a little bit uncertain,

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and the Entonox will help that along the way.

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'Got the stretcher and Buck OK.

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'OK. Doors closed.'

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Lee will be flown to nearby Dorchester Hospital

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for an emergency operation on his arm.

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And here is Lee, who's been stood here marvelling

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-at what people did for you there.

-Yeah.

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Extraordinary bunch of people. Amazing skills going on,

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-to get you out and to hospital.

-From the VR,

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you can see I was in quite a tight position

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where it would have been very difficult

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to get me up them stairs, specially when they're at 90 degrees,

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and I would have been strapped in.

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With the extent of the damage to my arm, as well,

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it would have caused more problems, so the MCA did a fantastic job

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-getting me out of there.

-You were actually on a ladder,

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-climbing up out of the hold, when you fell?

-Yeah.

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As you can see, there's a space there a container would have filled,

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so we have to go onto the next level to start loading into that position,

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and then we'll move on, and I was up on top of the ladder

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-when I came down.

-Let's talk about this lad Miguel

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who came in and helped you out, because he really stood by you.

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He was with me from the moment I fell right through to them lifting me off,

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and he did a fantastic job, because he kept my arm still,

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because obviously I was trying to get up,

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and he also just kept talking to me,

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and I think it would have been a worse situation

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if I'd actually seen my arm and seen my own blood.

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-He wouldn't let you have a look at it?

-He didn't.

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He didn't let me see it at all, and I think that helped me

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-a hundred times more.

-You haven't had a chance to meet him

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from that day to today, so we thought we'd bring him along.

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-Miguel, come over and join us. This is the man...

-Hiya.

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-How are you doing?

-Not bad.

-How's the arm?

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-Yeah, getting there.

-Bit of metalwork in there.

-Yes!

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Quite a bit. We'll have a closer look at that in a moment.

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You can tell us now... You didn't want him to see it at the time.

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-How did it look, the arm?

-When I first looked at it,

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his arm was just flopping around, and I could see there was blood

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coming from it, so I immediately knew it was a bad break,

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so my first thing was just to hold it all together,

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comfort Lee and get him concentrating on everything else...

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Sorry. ..on me, and not on everything else that was going to happen.

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And you worked like a human splint, grabbing round him...

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I literally leaned over him and held his arm together.

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-Right.

-I didn't bear-hug him or anything.

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I just held his arm literally together.

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-How did you know to do that?

-I've done first aid

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with the Red Cross, and in the army as well.

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Fantastic. So, let's have a look at this arm,

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because it is worth looking. Come and have a look at these scars.

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That's a pretty decent scar. And how many months ago?

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This happened in March, the middle of March.

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How many months are we talking about?

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-A month and a half now.

-Month and a half.

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-How's the hand going?

-It's just the thumb that's a problem now.

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All here's numb, but physio has got it to the extent

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where I can do that. I mean, three or four weeks ago,

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it was just a quiver. It really was just a quiver.

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So now can you recall the pain you were going through at the time?

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I can't really remember.

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I think it was more two or three days afterward

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when I was in the splint, just aching really,

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but actually when I had the accident,

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with the mixture of shock and adrenaline

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and, of course, the fantastic gas...

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How thankful are you that this guy was around?

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Really thankful. He was absolutely amazing.

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-I just...

-I think I would have been in a bit of a worse state

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-if you hadn't kept me concentrating on something else.

-Lovely, guys.

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I'm going to leave you to chat and get to know each other.

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Thank you very much for coming in. Now, a couple of floors below us

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is Abingdon Police Station. Louise is with the officers on duty.

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This is the parade room in the police station.

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This is where officers come twice a day

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to hand over their ongoing cases and do lots of the paperwork as well.

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I want to talk about a couple of rescues that have happened here,

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first with Simon and Claire. You got a callout about a small plane.

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-What had happened to it?

-A plane had been approaching Oxford Airport.

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The airport had completely lost contact with the plane,

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and obviously concerned for the pilot,

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so they did the natural thing and called the police.

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You had a vast area to search. Could you send up the helicopter?

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We couldn't send up ours. It had to come from Solent on Sea,

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the coastguard, but it was grounded due to freezing-fog conditions.

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It managed to lift again, and luckily locate the wreckage.

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You were in woodland, so how were you searching?

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-You managed to get a quad bike...

-That's right.

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Our normal police vehicles are useless in the woods and the rough.

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We spoke to the woodland manager, who had a Land Rover, fortunately,

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and a couple of quad bikes which he lent us,

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and we managed to search the woods really effectively using those.

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You found the pilot, who'd crawled from the wreckage.

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He was about 20 feet from the burning wreckage.

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Luckily we found him, administered some first aid,

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called in the experts to get him down on a spinal board

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and to the hospital for urgent treatment.

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Could you guess that was going to happen at the beginning of your shift?

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That's the great thing about the police force.

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When you come in for duty, anything can happen.

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If you guys hadn't been there at that point,

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-what state would he have been in?

-He was in the woods for three hours

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by the time we found him, because of the huge area we had to search.

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It was below freezing. The injuries he had,

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he could have had hypothermia and died.

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-So you go home knowing you've saved somebody's life.

-Absolutely.

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-How does that make you feel?

-Wonderful. Good to help.

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Gary, you've got a story about another rescue.

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On a night shift, you saw smoke coming out of a flat, didn't you?

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-That's right, yeah.

-Take us through it.

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I was driving along, saw smoke coming out of a flat,

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an upstairs flat above a bookmaker's.

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I went round to the back of the building

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after being told by a member of the public someone lives there,

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to see flames pouring out of the windows.

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The member of the public had already called the fire service,

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and with the news that someone could be inside,

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-I thought I'd better get in.

-Which was brave.

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Well, possibly, or stupid. But I kicked the door open,

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and through the smoke I could see someone lying on a couch,

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but all I could see were legs. The person's back was towards me.

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I managed to drag the person, who was semiconscious, out of the building

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and onto the metal walkway, and it wasn't until that point

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that I managed to have a good look at the person,

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and I did a double take, because what I thought was a woman

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turned out to be a man. He'd been to The Rocky Horror Picture Show,

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and he was dressed in a basque, stockings, suspenders,

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-full make-up, the works.

-You never know what you're going to see.

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-It was a real shock.

-And he started the fire?

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He had. He'd had a few beers after the show

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and started cooking some chips, fallen asleep,

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-and the fire had started.

-Were the firefighters disappointed

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-when they saw him?

-They were. They saw the legs

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-and thought it was a lady as well.

-You got a commendation for it.

-Yes.

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How do you feel when you've done that?

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It makes you feel proud that you've done something worthwhile.

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Fantastic. Thank you. Nick.

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A commendation for the policeman, and a new set of stockings

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for the person he rescued. Moving on,

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every year over 120,000 people in the UK have a heart attack.

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They don't all involve crushing pain in the chest and collapsing.

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Some are less dramatic. Sometimes the symptoms can be very vague.

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But as we're about to see, they're just as life-threatening.

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Early morning. Clive and Dave have been sent to a man

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who's been suffering from chest pain for several hours.

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A volunteer medic has also responded,

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but nothing seems too amiss when they find Simon

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standing calmly in the driveway.

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-Describe the pain.

-Like there's a blockage,

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like I swallowed something I can't get down.

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-So more central, is it?

-It's about there.

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-And does it go anywhere?

-Down the arm.

-Down your arm?

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-Have you had anything like this before?

-Never.

-No?

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Can I just borrow your wrist? Why are you walking about?

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-Because I'm all right.

-I might get you to walk to the ambulance.

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The pain in Simon's arm is a worrying sign.

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-The pain started four hours ago?

-Yeah, in the middle of the night.

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I woke up, and...

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-OK.

-Yeah, it's been pretty constant.

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-You're a good colour.

-It feels like I swallowed something

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-that can't go down.

-Yeah, OK.

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He has no past medical history, but an early heart reading

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suggests an abnormality.

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You're firing off extra beats.

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Do you ever feel anything in your chest, like another beat going on?

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Not that I'm aware, to be honest.

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They can happen and they can be normal,

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but every now and then you get an extra beat. They're called PVCs,

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premature ventricular contractions, and I just noticed a run of them.

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There was three or four of them that pinged off then.

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-Are you under Kimberly Surgery?

-I'm not registered with a GP.

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-You're not at all? Why's that?

-I never go to doctors...

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-Right.

-..until it gets desperate.

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So the plot thickens!

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While Simon hardly seems desperate at the moment,

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Clive is worried enough to give him a comprehensive ECG

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to get a better view of what's happening with his heart.

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Possibly something going on, but I'm not a cardiologist.

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The printout suggests Simon's heart may not be getting enough blood.

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They'll have to take him to hospital...

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Lift your tongue up.

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..and to be on the safe side, also give him a special spray.

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By widening veins and arteries, it improves blood flow

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and helps fight against any blockage

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that might be affecting his circulation.

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-Is it a sharp pain? Is it...

-Dull.

-Dull pain.

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So it's a dull ache, and it is going down your left arm.

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Yeah. It's sort of on the inside of... Yeah.

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Right. OK. OK.

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Then suddenly...

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For some reason it's fired into life again.

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..things start to look a lot more serious...

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That's hugely different now from what it was last time.

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-OK.

-OK? So it's elevating as we speak.

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OK? I don't want to panic you and alarm you, anything like that,

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I think that we are having a heart attack, OK?

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-OK.

-And it's developing whilst we're talking.

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..though he doesn't seem the type to flap.

0:16:580:17:01

You're in the right place!

0:17:010:17:03

Yeah. It's the place to be.

0:17:030:17:06

Clive is careful to keep it all as relaxed as possible for Simon.

0:17:060:17:10

Just going to flush a bit of water through it. Shouldn't sting.

0:17:100:17:14

You might feel a bit of cold going up your arm. That's it.

0:17:140:17:17

-The feeling has changed quite a bit.

-In what way?

0:17:180:17:21

-It's like a sort of numbness spreading across.

-OK.

0:17:210:17:24

And it's...nicer than it was.

0:17:250:17:28

Yeah? HE CHUCKLES

0:17:280:17:30

Has it eased?

0:17:300:17:32

-It feels almost like an anaesthetic.

-All right. OK.

0:17:330:17:37

-That's the worst over, OK?

-That's fine.

0:17:370:17:39

Very strange.

0:17:390:17:41

And do you feel quite anxious about it, or are you...?

0:17:410:17:45

No. No.

0:17:450:17:47

New readings on the heart monitor

0:17:490:17:51

suggest there's a possibility the spray they gave Simon

0:17:510:17:55

to improve his blood flow may have started to work.

0:17:550:17:58

That's gone back to normal again now.

0:17:580:18:00

It's like the blockage has gone.

0:18:020:18:04

Well, the spray under your tongue might have eased...

0:18:040:18:07

Regardless, Clive gives Simon some morphine for the pain,

0:18:070:18:11

and phones ahead to Swindon Hospital to let them know his condition.

0:18:110:18:15

We've got a 58-year-old gentleman

0:18:150:18:17

who's had central chest pain radiating down his left arm

0:18:170:18:21

for approximately four hours.

0:18:210:18:23

The effect of the spray might just be temporary.

0:18:230:18:27

Any heart attack could still worsen without warning.

0:18:270:18:30

So you've got pain radiating to your jaw as well?

0:18:360:18:39

-Yeah.

-OK. That could be heart-related.

0:18:390:18:43

Central chest pain radiating down your left arm,

0:18:430:18:45

into the jaw. Anything going through to the back at all?

0:18:450:18:49

-Yeah.

-Oh, yeah.

0:18:500:18:51

HE LAUGHS You're still a good colour.

0:18:510:18:54

-That's good.

-Normally when somebody's having a massive MI,

0:18:540:18:58

a heart attack, they got this billboard on them

0:18:580:19:00

that says "I'm having a heart attack,"

0:19:000:19:03

because they're grey, sweating profusely,

0:19:030:19:07

and they're all real classic sort of symptoms.

0:19:070:19:10

And these things that you're not,

0:19:100:19:12

but it might be because where the problem is, possibly,

0:19:120:19:15

is a different part of the heart.

0:19:150:19:18

At the hospital they take Simon straight to the coronary-care unit,

0:19:210:19:25

and, as it turns out, not a moment too soon.

0:19:250:19:29

Inside, tests show that despite him being calmness personified

0:19:290:19:33

on the surface, he's actually having a severe heart attack

0:19:330:19:37

and needs an emergency operation.

0:19:370:19:40

'They've now taken him round to a cath lab.

0:19:440:19:47

'A dye will be injected into his heart,'

0:19:470:19:50

and then they'll see where the blockage is,

0:19:500:19:53

and then they'll remove that blockage and put in a thing called a stent.

0:19:530:19:57

And they're doing that right now,

0:19:570:19:59

so half an hour after arriving in hospital,

0:19:590:20:01

he's having that done as we speak. The thing with heart attacks

0:20:010:20:05

is to catch it early, and thankfully he did call us.

0:20:050:20:08

I know he left it a few hours, but he's in the right place

0:20:080:20:11

so hopefully he'll make a good recovery.

0:20:110:20:14

I'm very glad to say that Simon's here with me now.

0:20:160:20:19

That is quite extraordinary. You walked out of your house,

0:20:190:20:22

-and an hour later you were having a lifesaving operation.

-That's right,

0:20:220:20:26

and the lifesaver is sitting over here.

0:20:260:20:28

We'll talk to Tom in a minute about the stent.

0:20:280:20:31

Tell us about that operation. It was under a local anaesthetic.

0:20:310:20:34

-What was it like to see it going on?

-Well, it was remarkable,

0:20:340:20:38

because I was conscious all the time, no discomfort,

0:20:380:20:40

and following the procedure as it went along,

0:20:400:20:43

which was being explained in great detail.

0:20:430:20:45

You can explain it to me. Your doctor, Tom, is here.

0:20:450:20:48

He had a stent fitted,

0:20:480:20:50

and you've got equipment here which you can show me what you did.

0:20:500:20:54

That's true. Simon had a blockage of a heart artery.

0:20:540:20:57

-A complete blockage?

-Complete, 100 percent blockage,

0:20:570:21:00

which causes sudden, severe chest pain.

0:21:000:21:03

And what we do nowadays is treat it with a mechanical solution,

0:21:030:21:08

-like unblocking a drain.

-You call it the Dyno-Rod solution.

0:21:080:21:11

It's like a Dyno-Rod. Previously we'd use a drain unblocker,

0:21:110:21:15

chemicals. Now we use a mechanical solution.

0:21:150:21:17

-So that's a big stent there.

-But he didn't have one that big, did he?

0:21:170:21:21

-No.

-OK.

-So what we do...

0:21:210:21:24

Imagine this is the artery which was blocked.

0:21:240:21:27

-This is a model of the heart.

-Yes. We put the blue tube in

0:21:270:21:30

through the wrist,

0:21:300:21:32

and the shiny metal thing moving forwards there is the stent.

0:21:320:21:36

-OK. So tiny version of that.

-Wrapped round a balloon.

0:21:360:21:39

I'm going to inflate the stent, as we would have done in Simon's case,

0:21:390:21:43

as quickly as possible after the heart attack.

0:21:430:21:46

A little cylinder expands to treat the artery.

0:21:460:21:50

We then let the balloon down.

0:21:510:21:54

-Here.

-And slide everything out, leaving the stent in place

0:21:540:21:57

with the artery fixed and the flow restored.

0:21:570:22:00

It's as quick as that.

0:22:000:22:01

And we've got pictures of his heart afterwards.

0:22:010:22:04

Talk me through what's going on. So this is evidence

0:22:040:22:08

-that things are OK.

-Yeah.

0:22:080:22:10

So that's the final image of Simon's artery,

0:22:100:22:14

showing that the flow is nice.

0:22:140:22:16

There's a nice letter-C shape to the artery.

0:22:160:22:19

When we first took the picture, it was blocked at this point.

0:22:190:22:22

-And that saved his life, presumably.

-That does save his life, yes.

0:22:220:22:26

Brilliant. Thank you for showing me.

0:22:260:22:28

Simon, how has this changed you, do you think?

0:22:280:22:31

I wake up every morning and say, "Thank you, I'm still here."

0:22:310:22:34

I'm very grateful to the whole team, who were incredibly professional

0:22:340:22:38

and efficient and reassuring about the whole procedure,

0:22:380:22:41

so, yes, I'm very happy and lucky to be alive.

0:22:410:22:44

Thank you for coming to talk to us about it,

0:22:440:22:46

and thank you, too, for showing us.

0:22:460:22:48

Just chatting away here to Christine Brown,

0:22:490:22:52

who we're going to talk to now about the fact

0:22:520:22:55

that when you have your car stolen, it's very upsetting.

0:22:550:22:58

But what's in it can make it a lot more upsetting.

0:22:580:23:01

You had a call in particular on this.

0:23:010:23:03

We had a lady who'd been out and done her shopping.

0:23:030:23:06

She got home to unload her shopping.

0:23:060:23:09

She'd got her small child in the back of the car,

0:23:090:23:12

and the child had gone to sleep, so she did what lots of women have done.

0:23:120:23:15

She left the child in the car while she unloaded the shopping.

0:23:150:23:19

When she came back out, the car and the child were gone.

0:23:190:23:23

She must have been going absolutely spare.

0:23:230:23:25

She must have been pretty frantic,

0:23:250:23:27

and the husband went out immediately in the other car

0:23:270:23:30

to see if they could find it. They phoned in.

0:23:300:23:33

We put a broadcast out.

0:23:330:23:36

I was working as assistant to the radio operator.

0:23:360:23:39

The radio operator broadcast to all the officers

0:23:390:23:43

that we were looking for this vehicle.

0:23:430:23:45

We put what we call static containment,

0:23:450:23:48

which is vehicles parked up at certain points

0:23:480:23:51

to see if we could get the vehicle... If it goes out of that circle,

0:23:510:23:55

as it were, hopefully we would see it.

0:23:550:23:57

There was a lot of radio traffic, obviously,

0:23:570:24:01

passing information about the vehicle and where it had gone from.

0:24:010:24:05

This is killing me! Did you get the baby back?

0:24:050:24:07

-We did, yes.

-Good.

-We did.

0:24:070:24:10

We got authority to put a press release out

0:24:100:24:13

for any sightings, and then the vehicle was dumped

0:24:130:24:16

with the child in it, and the child was found unharmed,

0:24:160:24:20

-and was fine, so, er, a good story.

-Good resolution to the story,

0:24:200:24:26

onto what can only be a terrifying story in the first place.

0:24:260:24:29

-Good ending. Thank you very much.

-It's all right. It's a pleasure.

0:24:290:24:33

Still to come on Real Rescues, the fire crew is called out

0:24:340:24:38

to a young family trapped in their car as a river starts to rise.

0:24:380:24:41

And the two-year-old girl who's cut her head

0:24:500:24:52

but isn't crying. Could it be a sign of something more serious?

0:24:520:24:56

I'd like to have her looked at because, where the cut is,

0:24:560:24:59

it's right on her fontanelle.

0:24:590:25:03

-I can feel a bit of a lump just on that part.

-OK.

0:25:030:25:06

So I'd just like to get her assessed.

0:25:060:25:08

You won't believe the number of ways a fire can start.

0:25:100:25:13

In a few minutes we'll hear how static in a carpet

0:25:130:25:15

caused an inferno. But first, a simple magnifying glass

0:25:150:25:19

caused this. The owners of the house were out when it caught fire,

0:25:190:25:23

but a neighbour made this 999 call.

0:25:230:25:27

This is Louisa, whose house burned down.

0:25:550:25:58

-And your business was in there, as well!

-It was indeed, yes.

0:25:580:26:02

-Devastating!

-Absolute devastation, yes.

0:26:020:26:04

So you come back and there's your house gone.

0:26:040:26:06

What's your first thought?

0:26:060:26:09

Well, complete and utter shock,

0:26:090:26:11

numbingly so, actually.

0:26:110:26:13

We knew nothing about the fire until we got home,

0:26:130:26:16

because we'd left our mobile phone at home,

0:26:160:26:19

and we turned up and there was the fire engine,

0:26:190:26:21

-with a massive hole in our roof.

-What caused the fire?

0:26:210:26:24

A magnifying glass, which had been lying on a study desk.

0:26:240:26:28

That room faces directly south.

0:26:280:26:30

The magnifying glass had been moved by me the day before.

0:26:300:26:33

I'd been dusting the desk, and I'd put it in a pen pot.

0:26:330:26:36

-Didn't think at all about...

-Near the window?

0:26:360:26:39

Yes. Didn't think at all about the devastation it could cause.

0:26:390:26:42

-Well, you wouldn't, would you?

-No, and it was in January

0:26:420:26:45

that the fire happened, so it was a winter's day.

0:26:450:26:48

Admittedly the sun was very strong and low in the sky,

0:26:480:26:50

but it penetrated through the magnifying glass onto the curtains.

0:26:500:26:55

Because we weren't there, the house was burning for two and a half hours

0:26:550:26:58

before anybody raised the alarm, by which time the top floor had been devastated.

0:26:580:27:03

The bottom floor, we'd lost one room, where the fire started,

0:27:030:27:06

and the rest of the rooms downstairs were completely smoke-damaged.

0:27:060:27:10

-Had you ever heard of this before? It's ridiculous, isn't it?

-It is.

0:27:100:27:13

Since we've spoken to the fire-investigation team,

0:27:130:27:17

they've told us that magnifying glasses, paperweights,

0:27:170:27:20

crystals hanging in windows, shaving mirrors -

0:27:200:27:22

all those things can cause devastation

0:27:220:27:24

-if they're left long enough.

-Let's bring Mark Hobbs in

0:27:240:27:27

-from the fire-investigation unit.

-Hello, Nick.

0:27:270:27:30

You've started a black museum of things that can start a fire.

0:27:300:27:33

We have, and it's www.blackmuseum.org

0:27:330:27:36

and what we're going to do, with Louisa's help,

0:27:360:27:39

is try and get across the message to people

0:27:390:27:41

that fire can start in many unusual ways,

0:27:410:27:43

educating people and trying to do it in an interesting way,

0:27:430:27:46

so we've created the Black Museum, which is an online accessible site

0:27:460:27:51

where we put things like Louisa's...

0:27:510:27:54

You've just talked about a magnifying glass. How does a carpet start a fire?

0:27:540:27:58

-Oh, good heavens!

-Exactly. How DOES a carpet start a fire?

0:27:580:28:02

Not common. Very unusual. I've only been to one incident,

0:28:020:28:06

and it wasn't the carpet that started the fire as such.

0:28:060:28:08

We got called to an incident in a small terraced house,

0:28:080:28:12

and the crews could see a flame coming through the carpet.

0:28:120:28:15

We put the fire out quickly. It was fairly small.

0:28:150:28:18

When we lifted the floorboards, there was a gas pipe, which was leaking,

0:28:180:28:21

and the householder told us they'd had the carpets refitted

0:28:210:28:25

a couple of weeks before. Brand new carpet,

0:28:250:28:27

synthetic fibre, and we believe it was a spark

0:28:270:28:30

from them walking on the carpet which ignited this gas leak

0:28:300:28:33

-that had been there for a long time.

-We'll have more from Mark later,

0:28:330:28:36

including a fire started by a handful of dirty rags.

0:28:360:28:40

A car has broken down in a fast-flowing river,

0:28:400:28:43

and the water is rising around it. The young family inside

0:28:430:28:47

could take their chances and walk to the bank,

0:28:470:28:49

but they don't know what's under the surface.

0:28:490:28:51

One slip and they could be washed away.

0:28:510:28:54

After a night of torrential rain, the streams in the New Forest

0:28:560:28:59

have risen dramatically - so much so

0:28:590:29:01

that firefighters from a nearby town, Lyndhurst,

0:29:010:29:04

have been called to the rescue of a young family

0:29:040:29:07

whose car is stuck in the middle of a swollen ford.

0:29:070:29:11

Their first thought is to keep them inside the car and drag it out.

0:29:210:29:24

Inside the car are Matthew and Andrea, with two-year-old Lara

0:29:360:29:42

and baby Jude. They were on holiday with friends and family

0:29:420:29:45

in the New Forest when they got into this mess.

0:29:450:29:48

As they started to cross, the car's engine cut out.

0:29:480:29:53

They panicked and called for help.

0:29:530:29:55

All Matthew and Andrea can do now is sit tight

0:29:580:30:01

and follow the firefighters' instructions.

0:30:010:30:03

Before they can start the rescue, they need to put everything in place

0:30:150:30:19

just in case something goes wrong.

0:30:190:30:21

There could be a surge of water. There's been a lot of rain overnight

0:30:210:30:25

and conditions can change quickly, so if the vehicle should move

0:30:250:30:28

or any of the guys swept away, we have a safety team downstream,

0:30:280:30:31

safety being the priority at all times.

0:30:310:30:33

The yellow bag contains a throw line just in case.

0:30:330:30:37

Because of all these added risks,

0:30:390:30:41

they've decided that it would be safer to leave the car where it is

0:30:410:30:45

and get everyone out.

0:30:450:30:47

Baby Jude is first out, straight through the window

0:30:580:31:02

and into firefighter Wayne Park's arms.

0:31:020:31:04

He's starting to cry, but he's safe,

0:31:040:31:07

and Gran Rita is close at hand.

0:31:070:31:10

Lara is next, and she's staying very calm.

0:31:130:31:16

Well done, sweetheart.

0:31:180:31:20

Uncle Spencer is waiting.

0:31:200:31:22

There you go.

0:31:220:31:25

With the children on dry land, Matthew and Andrea make their way

0:31:270:31:32

with the loan of two pairs of firefighters' welly boots.

0:31:320:31:36

The family can now resume their holiday,

0:31:370:31:40

although minus their car. That will stay put

0:31:400:31:43

until the recovery vehicle arrives.

0:31:430:31:45

We were just talking about candles, and whether they cause problems.

0:31:500:31:54

They do. Cooking is another obvious area.

0:31:540:31:57

Smoking... These are all areas that we know cause fires,

0:31:570:32:00

but we're talking about the more unusual ways.

0:32:000:32:03

Um, oily rags? How can oily rags cause a fire?

0:32:030:32:06

Well, particularly linseed-oil-soaked rags, Nick.

0:32:060:32:10

It's well known, and the manufacturers put a warning

0:32:100:32:12

on the back of their bottles, warning people to be careful

0:32:120:32:15

-how they dispose of the rags.

-I've seen that warning.

0:32:150:32:18

I've used linseed oil on floors, and, in the old days,

0:32:180:32:22

on cricket bats. I presume you needed to light it to make it...

0:32:220:32:26

No, not at all. Linseed oil is a particular product

0:32:260:32:30

which will react with oxygen, especially when it's on a rag

0:32:300:32:33

which creates heat. If you've got that rag screwed up in a container

0:32:330:32:36

which allows it to get oxygen, and the heat can't get away from it,

0:32:360:32:40

-it can get to a temperature...

-We've got a picture of them.

0:32:400:32:43

-That's right.

-These are rags that were thrown after using linseed oil into a bin.

0:32:430:32:46

Some builders were working in a church in East Sussex,

0:32:460:32:49

-renovating a floor.

-That's a piano, the remains of, what you can see.

0:32:490:32:53

That's right, yeah. They'd used the rags to apply the oil,

0:32:530:32:56

put them in a bin and gone home, and then a few hours later

0:32:560:32:59

-we were called, and there was a fire.

-They ignited themselves.

0:32:590:33:03

The other thing - if you have a pet,

0:33:030:33:05

make sure you unplug your electrical items.

0:33:050:33:08

-Don't just switch them off.

-We had a fire many years ago

0:33:080:33:11

in Hastings in East Sussex. The lady was using a hairdryer in the morning

0:33:110:33:15

before she went to work, and she switched it off on the rocker switch

0:33:150:33:19

on the handle, left it on the bed without switching off at the socket.

0:33:190:33:22

She went out. The dog would nose the door open and sleep on the bed,

0:33:220:33:26

and on this occasion somehow caught the rocker switch,

0:33:260:33:29

turned the hairdryer on, and a few hours later the bed caught fire.

0:33:290:33:33

You can't guard against all these things, but get a smoke alarm,

0:33:330:33:37

because at least it will let you know.

0:33:370:33:39

Absolutely. Get a suitable working smoke alarm.

0:33:390:33:41

All fire services will give free advice, and come round

0:33:410:33:45

if need be, and probably fit the detector.

0:33:450:33:47

-Mark, thank you very much.

-OK.

0:33:470:33:49

I'm in another of the parade rooms in Abingdon Police Station,

0:33:520:33:55

and Kevin's here to talk to me about a dog-napping.

0:33:550:33:58

-A call came in. What happened?

-It was a dog called Piglet,

0:33:580:34:01

a female Staffy puppy, reported stolen from someone's back garden,

0:34:010:34:06

and the gent, obviously, once he found the dog stolen,

0:34:060:34:09

he went round the local village to try and find Piglet.

0:34:090:34:13

A neighbour reported that they'd seen two males in a van

0:34:130:34:16

-taking what looked like...

-So they'd seen it happen?

0:34:160:34:20

Yeah, basically saw it happen.

0:34:200:34:22

They were very good, because they got a part-index of the vehicle,

0:34:220:34:25

which is part of the registration.

0:34:250:34:28

From that we did some checks on our police national computer,

0:34:280:34:31

and managed to find over 200 vehicles that matched that index.

0:34:310:34:36

-Which is quite a lot.

-Which is quite a lot.

0:34:360:34:38

We narrowed it down with further intelligence work.

0:34:380:34:42

It came down to two, and from those two, through local intelligence,

0:34:420:34:46

managed to locate it down to one place, which was in Northampton.

0:34:460:34:50

-And that was just a part-registration?

-Yeah.

0:34:500:34:53

-You found the location?

-Yep.

-And then what happened?

0:34:530:34:56

Found the location, went in - a team of five of us,

0:34:560:34:59

up to Northampton. Obviously it's not our force area.

0:34:590:35:02

Went up there. Managed to... Saw the van, first off,

0:35:020:35:07

so that was a starter for ten. Went in on-site.

0:35:070:35:10

Spoke to the owner of the site, and then could see Piglet

0:35:100:35:14

in a compound, still with her collar on,

0:35:140:35:18

named Piglet.

0:35:180:35:20

She was chipped, but we didn't have the scanner.

0:35:200:35:23

But it was blatantly obvious. And while we were there,

0:35:230:35:27

we saw a black lab that looked a bit sorry for himself,

0:35:270:35:30

but we couldn't prove it was a stolen dog.

0:35:300:35:33

So you got one of these, went back with it, and found what?

0:35:330:35:36

Got a scanner, went back, scanned the dog,

0:35:360:35:39

and sure enough, came back as stolen from Warwickshire.

0:35:390:35:42

And how were the family when they saw Piglet?

0:35:420:35:45

Really pleased, relieved, and Piglet got quite a warm welcome.

0:35:450:35:48

-Lots of licks.

-Ahh, bless her. Thank you very much! Thank you.

0:35:480:35:52

Now a callout to a nursery school in Berkshire.

0:35:520:35:54

A toddler has fallen into a metal gate and has head injuries,

0:35:540:35:57

and an ambulance is on its way.

0:35:570:36:00

The ambulance is speeding across Reading to the Children's Centre.

0:36:020:36:06

On board are paramedic Chris Kirby and technician Jason Harrap.

0:36:060:36:10

Two-year-old Mia is with her mum. She has a deep gash in her forehead,

0:36:160:36:20

and is looking a bit dazed.

0:36:200:36:22

-She's run down the side alleyway...

-Right.

-..and fallen,

0:36:220:36:25

and it looks like, as she's fallen, she's hit the bottom of the gate.

0:36:250:36:29

-Right. OK.

-And she's got a cut about that big.

0:36:290:36:32

Chris needs as many details as possible

0:36:320:36:35

so he can prioritise the treatment.

0:36:350:36:38

-Who was actually with Mia?

-Er, no-one.

0:36:380:36:41

-She ran round the side.

-She ran round the side gate.

0:36:410:36:44

So how did you know she'd fallen?

0:36:440:36:46

So you heard running, a bang. Then what did you hear?

0:36:480:36:51

-I went outside. Crying.

-Crying straightaway?

-Yes.

0:36:510:36:54

Right. Brilliant. That's what I wanted.

0:36:540:36:56

The fact that Mia cried means she wasn't knocked out.

0:36:560:36:59

More details from her grandmother helps him build up a good picture

0:36:590:37:03

of what happened.

0:37:030:37:05

OK. So she'd got herself back up.

0:37:050:37:07

And was she walking as she normally does?

0:37:070:37:10

-Yes.

-OK. Has she vomited at all?

0:37:100:37:12

No.

0:37:120:37:14

Chris is now happy that Mia didn't lose consciousness.

0:37:140:37:18

He can concentrate on cleaning the wound.

0:37:180:37:20

There's plenty of blood, and it's difficult to see.

0:37:200:37:23

Very good.

0:37:230:37:26

It's all the way down there, too. Oh, bless her.

0:37:260:37:29

Is it a big cut, or just that...

0:37:290:37:31

Well, it's difficult. She's got long, fine hair

0:37:310:37:35

-that's fairly matted into it.

-I didn't want to pull it apart

0:37:350:37:38

-in case it...

-Yeah.

0:37:380:37:40

Oh, sorry, honey.

0:37:420:37:44

What's this? Is this just residual, is it? Yeah.

0:37:450:37:48

Mia is still very quiet. Often the more noise a child makes,

0:37:490:37:53

the less serious the injury.

0:37:530:37:55

-So how long was she crying for?

-How long was she crying for, Mum?

0:37:550:37:59

-How long?

-Er, five minutes.

0:37:590:38:03

OK. Lovely.

0:38:030:38:05

I'd like to have her looked at simply because, where the cut is,

0:38:070:38:11

-it's right on her fontanelle...

-Yep.

0:38:110:38:14

And that's the... You know, that's the soft part of the skull,

0:38:140:38:18

which flexed when she was born.

0:38:180:38:21

Now, that's pretty much hardened over,

0:38:210:38:23

-but I can feel a bit of a lump just on that part...

-OK.

0:38:230:38:27

-..so I'd like to get her assessed.

-That's fine.

0:38:270:38:30

-I'd rather her get looked at.

-OK.

0:38:300:38:33

She's very...sitting very still for her.

0:38:330:38:36

-Yeah, but that's not abnormal.

-Maybe a bit of shock as well.

0:38:360:38:40

Yeah. Children, when they've banged themselves or hurt themselves,

0:38:400:38:43

usually go through a period of crying, then they get drowsy,

0:38:430:38:47

then they want to go to sleep because that's how their body recovers.

0:38:470:38:50

If they continue not to be interested in their surroundings...

0:38:500:38:53

-That's when we worry.

-So you'll be all right to travel with us?

0:38:530:38:57

Yeah. That's fine.

0:38:570:38:58

Gran takes Mia's identical twin sister home,

0:38:580:39:02

leaving mum Jane free to travel to A&E.

0:39:020:39:05

Chris wants Mia to be checked over properly in hospital.

0:39:050:39:08

-MIA CRIES

-She always howls when she goes.

0:39:080:39:11

They're twins.

0:39:110:39:14

Jane had been at work at a stables nearby

0:39:190:39:21

when she got the call from the playschool.

0:39:210:39:23

-Oh, hence the spurs.

-Yeah. I don't normally wear spurs!

0:39:230:39:27

I thought it was a fashion statement.

0:39:270:39:30

Once on board, Chris can start his routine checks

0:39:300:39:33

while Jason gets into the driver's seat.

0:39:330:39:36

Lovely. That's all good.

0:39:360:39:39

Nice little heartbeat there.

0:39:390:39:41

You all right, princess?

0:39:450:39:47

Mia still seems a bit subdued.

0:39:470:39:49

All a bit disconcerting, isn't it?

0:39:490:39:52

It's a little bit much for her to take in, isn't it?

0:39:520:39:55

Chris has fashioned a balloon from a glove to cheer her up.

0:39:550:39:58

She's the accident-prone one out of the twins.

0:39:580:40:02

She's not hyperactive, but into mischief and stuff all the time.

0:40:020:40:06

Nine times out of ten, she will fall over and get up and laugh.

0:40:060:40:12

If anyone's going to fall over or crash or anything,

0:40:130:40:16

it will be her, so...it was no surprise

0:40:160:40:20

that it was her.

0:40:200:40:22

You were very brave, though, weren't you, Mia?

0:40:220:40:25

At the hospital, Chris realises he met Jane before,

0:40:260:40:30

after a crash. It's not just Mia who's accident-prone.

0:40:300:40:33

You do look very familiar to me. When I walked in...

0:40:330:40:37

-Yeah. It WAS me, then.

-Second time you've been in my ambulance.

0:40:370:40:41

-Don't let there be a third.

-No!

0:40:410:40:43

Chris leaves Jane and Mia in safe hands at A&E,

0:40:430:40:47

where she can be thoroughly checked out.

0:40:470:40:50

They used a special glue, rather than stitches, on Mia's head wound,

0:40:500:40:53

and she's since made a full recovery.

0:40:530:40:56

I want to talk to Katy and Lorraine about hard shoulders on motorways,

0:40:560:41:00

because some people seem to be confused about what they're for.

0:41:000:41:04

-You had a call from a personal assistant to somebody...

-Yes.

0:41:040:41:07

-Asking you what?

-It was, um...yeah, a famous person,

0:41:070:41:11

and the PA phoning up to say they were stuck in traffic

0:41:110:41:14

due to an accident, and they wanted to use the hard shoulder

0:41:140:41:17

-to get to a gig they were late for.

-This person was a singer?

0:41:170:41:20

They were late, and thought it would be OK to use the hard shoulder.

0:41:200:41:24

-I suppose at least they were checking with you.

-Yes.

0:41:240:41:27

-What did you say?

-I said it wasn't an appropriate use.

0:41:270:41:30

It's there as a place of safety for broken-down motorists,

0:41:300:41:33

and any use considered would have to be a life-and-death emergency.

0:41:330:41:37

-And being late for a gig...

-Is not life-and-death.

0:41:370:41:39

-How did she take that information?

-She wasn't too impressed,

0:41:390:41:43

but there's not a lot you can do about it.

0:41:430:41:45

So she then had to phone back said famous person and explain.

0:41:450:41:49

-Exactly.

-You probably looked up to see if the gig was late.

0:41:490:41:52

Lorraine, some occasions... Are you on a call?

0:41:520:41:55

-No, you're OK.

-Good. Some occasions you can use it,

0:41:550:41:58

and you had a very specific example.

0:41:580:42:01

Yes. We had a lady who had gone into labour

0:42:010:42:05

on the motorway, and she needed to get to the hospital quite quickly.

0:42:050:42:09

So?

0:42:090:42:11

So the motorway was closed because we'd got a serious accident

0:42:110:42:15

a couple of junctions up, and there was absolutely no way

0:42:150:42:19

-she could get through the traffic.

-So she was allowed through with...

0:42:190:42:22

We allowed her an ambulance escort up to Junction 9,

0:42:220:42:26

and a police escort to the hospital, where she gave birth to a baby boy.

0:42:260:42:30

-Oh, lovely story! Thank you!

-You're welcome.

0:42:300:42:32

And that concludes our stories for today.

0:42:320:42:35

Join us again next time for more Real Rescues.

0:42:350:42:37

See you then.

0:42:370:42:39

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:140:43:16

A man falls down into the hold of a container ship and needs rescuing by the coastguard helicopter, and a man with chest pains calls 999 to be told he is having a heart attack.