Nick Knowles and Louise Minchin present dramatic events from the work of the emergency services. This episode sees the multi-service rescue of a badly injured pilot.
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Today on Real Rescues, an air crash.
A plane has bounced off the roof of a house, crashed through a greenhouse
and come to rest in a back garden.
The pilot is seriously injured.
It's the hydraulic hose.
And from major to minor, the cat on the hot tile roof.
Why it's in everyone's interest firefighters turn out
to rescue cats like Gill.
Welcome to Real Rescues. This is one of the south-west's control rooms
where 999 calls come in all the time.
To my right is the dispatch team, sending out emergency crews.
To my left are specialists giving out medical advice and sending out doctors.
It's a busy place, but it's not the only control room here.
Outside they have a mobile version that goes to major incidents.
We'll take a look later in the programme.
Now a story Louise and I found ourselves witnessing first-hand.
We were in the control room in Hampshire when a call came through
alerting them to a plane crash, and watching them jump into action was impressive.
At the other end of the phone, it was a frightening scene.
A quiet country garden is suddenly the site of a major emergency.
A small plane has crash-landed, two people are on board
and doctors are fighting to save the life of the pilot.
It all started half an hour earlier.
It was a sunny day like this when pilot Brian Davis offered to fly an old friend out to lunch.
But on the way home, something went horribly wrong.
Pam, Pam. Golf, Alpha, Romeo, Hotel, November.
The engines are running very slowly. I'm looking for somewhere to go down.
Acknowledged. Are you able to come directly into the field?
You're currently ten miles east-northeast of the field.
Unable to maintain altitude, madam.
Crash-landing became the only option.
This is potentially a catastrophic accident.
It's an all-services emergency call-out.
They're all heading for the house on the edge of the New Forest.
First to raise the alarm was neighbour Sarion Harris.
She'd been at her kitchen window when the plane hit.
I saw a plane
crash into the bush and Pam's greenhouse
and take it out completely and the noise was unbelievable.
An almighty bang.
I couldn't imagine what it was. It was too loud.
The plane has ploughed through a greenhouse and smashed into the ground.
The house owner tentatively went to look.
I couldn't believe that anyone had survived.
When I looked at the debris, there was turf all over the place.
It uprooted a tree. It was just general mayhem.
I ran up to the side and stupidly said, "Are you all right?"
I heard a groan and then I ran back to the house to get to the phone.
Neighbour Sarion feared Pam had been in the greenhouse.
Relieved to see her in one piece, her attention turned to the cockpit.
I went to the pilot's side. He wasn't in a very good state.
He had a head injury and quite a lot of blood.
So I decided to concentrate on the phone call
and the information the emergency services needed.
A Critical Care doctor has crawled inside the cockpit.
He's working in tandem with ambulance technician Emma,
the first to arrive.
They're concentrating on the pilot who has been thrown into the plane's windscreen and flying instruments.
The most obvious injury
was an eye injury which looked like it was protruding from the socket.
With a saline dressing, we kept his eyeball where it needed to be
and we were hoping he wouldn't lose the sight in his eye.
He had quite a large cut to his lower jaw which was right down to the bone.
You could see his jaw through it and that was quite a nasty injury.
There was a smell of fuel leaking and you don't know if there's anything sparking,
so you're aware you need to deal with it very quickly.
Somehow, the pilot managed to turn off the electrics.
The fire crews have already removed the debris of the greenhouse
but fuel is leaking out of one tank.
We used cutters, but in the meantime to take control measures
we've laid down foam
and we've got somebody stood by in case of any leakage.
The passenger is already out and on his way to hospital.
Dr Rob Dawes is working in very cramped conditions
stabilising the pilot, Brian, who's 74.
You can imagine a light aircraft coming down into a back garden
is going to be a huge transfer of energy,
and their age means the capacity to have serious injuries is more.
So it's important to go through a prognosis properly.
The pilot was the most severely injured from his ankle
and from his right wrist and from his face.
But it was important to maintain his airway,
so I had already given him some quite strong painkillers
to keep him breathing and give him good pain relief.
But we need to assess him better.
Could you get some protectors for... Please.
Rob is crammed in behind Brian.
Emma works closely with him, passing him anything he needs.
Because of the job we do, we get to know the paramedics and the technicians very well.
I've worked with Emma on quite a number of difficult jobs.
Emma will know exactly what I need, she knows the kit that I use.
And the injuries I can feed them back to her and she can relay them back.
So it's a team effort, really.
Rob and Emma continue to try to stabilise Brian.
They've many colleagues on hand to help,
expert trauma specialists all trained to the highest level of care.
They're giving Brian the best chance of surviving the air crash.
They won't know the state of his injuries until they get him out and we'll see that later.
I want to have a chat with paramedic Andy Perris about the calls they get.
We were talking about calls which you get that are inappropriate.
I know there's a difference to malicious calls, but what sort of inappropriate calls do you get?
We get calls that are inappropriate for us to respond to.
Give us an example.
We've had a lot of calls from patients who aren't ill.
Even for their dogs, for non-medical-related emergencies,
turning off alarm clocks, the toilet's broken, you name it,
we've had calls for that sort of thing.
Why would people think that was appropriate to ring you for that?
At the time they make the call, they think in their own mind it is the correct thing to do.
However, in hindsight they probably realise it is not.
That's very generous of you. Are you saying people under the influence
of drink, for example, would reason better at another time?
If you have a group of people out who have been drinking, their judgment is definitely clouded.
An injury that during the day they would resolve themselves,
they think is far more serious and they will often call 999.
So the job of these people here is really important
because they've got to filter that to make sure that you don't
end up being sent as a resource to something inappropriate?
They're triage-ing - French word for sorting - to find who we need to get to within eight minutes
because they might die, who can wait a little bit longer
and who needs to go to another area of the health service.
Just to touch briefly on the malicious calls,
they can do real damage to your potential to respond.
Massively. We place our vehicles based on where we know there will be emergency calls.
If we get a hoax or a malicious call,
we'll move that vehicle to respond because these people often say
someone has been stabbed, something we would respond to.
Therefore, a further call comes in in that area and a patient may die.
We treat hoax calls and malicious calls extremely seriously
in conjunction with the police and the fire brigade.
We'll switch off mobile phones and we'll prosecute
if we're able to do so.
Be warned if you're ever considering doing that kind of thing.
It's interesting what people think emergencies are. Thanks.
999 calls about sports injuries are bread and butter for an ambulance control room like this one,
but in this case, the player writhing in agony on the floor
isn't any old rugby player, he's a talented international.
'9pm, and a call's come in to help an England international rugby player
'who's been stretchered off the pitch.
'On their way, ambulance technician Nicky
'and, not for the first time, paramedic Sarah MacDonald.'
Just my luck. Whenever there's a big match in Newbury between a national team,
'I usually end up going to one of the poor players who's been injured in the line of duty.'
So here we go again, I think!
'The match, England versus Scotland Under 20s, is still playing,
'but it's certainly over for Kieran Low,
'who's lying in the treatment room with a broken ankle.'
Oi, can someone drive my car?
-Can someone drive my car?
'The team doctor has already stabilised the break with an inflatable splint,
'and eased Kieran's pain by giving him some morphine and Entonox laughing gas.
'This has also noticeably lightened his mood.'
'It's all come as a bit of a surprise for his dad,
'who was in the stands, and blissfully unaware of what had happened to his son
'until he was told to come to the changing room.'
I came down off a line-out, and I saw my ankle, like...
-I saw you collapse.
-I saw it literally do that.
-I missed it!
-He still thought I was playing!
We thought it was someone else.
'Until the break can be fully assessed,
'the aim is to move Kieran around as gently as possible.'
'But his chance of playing in the next and final Six Nations Championship game has gone.'
Little bit of a bump.
Well done, lad.
You'll get a better bath there!
'They're taking Kieran to Basingstoke hospital for a set of X-rays.'
All your little fans.
'Newbury is not proving to be a lucky location for Kieran.'
-Cursed, this pitch, Dad. Remember the last time I played here?
I did my ankle as well.
-Oh, you did!
-You came back for more!
Yeah, he came off last time!
-That's the last time I was injured.
-You don't want to come here again.
'Kieran's been on his phone since leaving the ground,
'and the news that England have thrashed the Scots
'by 56 points to eight prompts even more furious texting.
'It was early in the second half when Kieran had leapt up high
'to try and catch the ball, before landing awkwardly on his ankle.'
You heard it crack, did you?
Did you feel it crack as well?
No worries. Can you still wiggle your toes?
-Does that cause you much grief?
Have you got smelly feet? I hope not.
You're a 20-year-old. What do I expect, really?!
Nicky checks Kieran's feet to see if the pedal pulse is strong,
a sign that blood flow isn't restricted.
Satisfied, she then has a request for him.
So, do you get new rugby shirts after every match?
Cos surely they can't get that clean?
-We could raffle it.
-You can have it if you want it.
She'd want a Welsh one, anyway.
-She can have my...!
-She can have the socks!
Though, to get that shirt off him,
they'll first have to get Kieran off the phone.
He's got two of them now.
He can text me back quicker than I can text him.
He might play rugby for England, but I bet his fingers do the talking.
You should have been a pianist, Kieran.
I've got a lot of people asking me how I am, all right?
Whether Kieran needs an operation will be decided in the A&E department.
As well as being an international, he plays for club side London Irish
and will want to get back into action as soon as possible.
Though it's just as well for Kieran that paramedic Sarah was driving
and not with him in the back of the ambulance.
-I wished Scotland won.
I'm a Celt, I'm a fellow Celt. If that had been a Welsh shirt...
I said you could have the socks.
I'm getting the shirt. He was going to give me his shirt.
He said, "Do you want my shirt?" and I said, "Not with your doctor in there."
-I said, "Newbury ambulance station".
-You got him fairly high on Entonox
-so she could steal the shirt off his back, literally.
-I would've done!
-He was very sweet.
-He was very sweet.
-He was very sweet.
Don't tell my hubby!
I think the Entonox is still leaking!
And the good news is Nicky got that shirt in the end as a thank you from Kieran
and Sarah, not so lucky, has the socks.
Kieran himself is making a good recovery.
He's still in a cast, but he does hope to be back on the rugby field next season. Nick.
Thank you, Louise. I want to have a chat to Paul Walker -
I'm going to grab this chair, cos there's nowhere to sit.
He's a clinical supervisor, used to be out on the road as a paramedic.
If an accident happened on the dual carriageway outside,
would you be out the door to help out?
No, on the basis that my job is about filtering other calls.
If I can save two jobs in the time whilst I'm in here,
then it releases those crew to be able to deal with the jobs outside.
-Do you miss it?
Yeah, ever so much!
I'm going to take you back to one of the incidents
that you attended before on a building site, which is close to my heart.
You went out to a fairly serious incident on a building site.
Yes, this was a construction site about 10 miles from here,
out in the woods.
They were putting in a concrete reservoir, which was square.
They were putting it into a round hole that they'd already excavated.
The construction chap that was on the top had lost his balance
but he hadn't fallen into the square hole,
he'd fallen down the side between the square hole and the round side.
If we take a look at a photograph, we haven't got film,
but we've got a photograph of him at the bottom of the hole -
a difficult space for you to get to.
I was the first person on the scene.
I looked over the edge - I'm not keen on heights myself,
and I was told it was a deep hole.
When I looked over the side, I realised it was a VERY deep hole.
How far down are we talking?
I think it was about four metres.
A fair way down. I was told by the other construction workers
he'd fallen down head-first and landed on his head.
At the time, when I looked down, he wasn't moving.
You weren't holding out much hope?
-I feared for the worst.
-We've got another picture,
because you used local machinery to help get him out,
and we've got a picture - a crane that was on site.
Yes, we were trying to figure out how to get him out,
thinking about roping stretchers, utilise whoever we could.
Then one of the construction workers asked
if we wanted to use the crane that was on site.
We discussed it with those that were there, including the fire brigade,
and eventually used the crane to rope him up.
Who tied the knots, you or the fire brigade?
I'm pretty good on knots,
but I didn't want to risk not getting the chap up,
so I left it to the fire brigade ropes team.
We've got one last picture, which is of him on the ground
actually being looked after - so that was it,
you tied him up and got him off to hospital. Do we know how he did?
Yes, I do.
He turned out to be a relative of one of the staff
that worked in the control room, and she was able to update me
and told me that there was no neurological defect afterwards.
-He survived the accident?
Thanks to you guys digging him out of that tiny space.
I can understand why you miss it. Nice to chat to you.
-Thank you very much for that.
Let's go back to that dramatic plane crash.
The pilot inside has serious injuries and urgently needs
to get to hospital, but first, they have to get him out of the wreckage.
In the cockpit of the crashed plane,
Dr Rob Daws is preparing Brian, the injured pilot,
so he can be safely moved from the wreckage.
It's a very confined space.
Brian's facial injuries are severe.
Ambulance technician Emma Hedges is working alongside Rob
through a smashed window.
I was assisting him, drawing up fluid and drugs for him,
making sure his obs were taken and writing them down.
It's an hour since the crash,
and only now is Brian's condition stable enough
for him to be eased out on a long board.
Rob has to be extra vigilant, as moving him can cause complications.
The most worrying injuries for me were the maxillofacial injuries.
These were bleeding quite a lot.
When he's sitting, we can drain the blood quite easily.
What was more worrying to me
is that when you're lying down it drips into the mouth
and into the airway, which can obstruct the airway.
The medics and firefighters carefully move Brian from the wreckage.
It was quite difficult to get him out
because he'd been in a sitting position.
It has to be done slowly so you don't aggravate any injuries
or any internal bleeding - at that time, you don't know if there is any.
-Are we able to move him across, out of the hazmat scene?
Please, if we could, thank you.
Brian's in extreme pain from his many injuries.
As we got him out of the plane, he became more obviously in pain,
groaning and moaning more.
More injuries were coming to light as we took him out of the plane.
They move him to a safer place to start a thorough examination.
Before you strap him, can you get his clothes off, please?
-Legs as well, Alex?
-Trousers, everything off, please.
Chris, IV access kit, please.
There are three critical care doctors, as well as paramedics,
and other experts from the ambulance service.
The doctors there were reassessing his injuries,
like in his pelvis or his legs.
Also, at hospital, if they needed to go direct to theatre, he'd be ready.
With so many working at once it's important to know
what the others are doing.
Consultant nurse Bruce Armstrong takes the lead.
Rob, his airway is fine.
His breathing is fine - Charles has listened to it.
OK, his chest is fine. Belly's soft.
To add to Brian's trauma, he can't see anything.
His injured eyes have been bandaged.
In a bid to keep him calm, Emma keeps up a commentary
on all that's happening.
OK, there's someone pressing on your ankle now. Does that hurt?
Yes, that hurts. You're doing really, really well, Brian, OK?
You need to keep talking and reassuring him
that you are going to help him.
You want to get on top of his pain relief
because he's obviously in distress.
What we're doing now with the casualty is moving him
onto a scoop stretcher, to move him to the ambulance.
And they wrap him in a special blanket designed for the army
to keep the injured warm.
So far, Brian is responding well,
but he's sustained so much trauma that he could start deteriorating at any time.
He's got the journey to the hospital to get through,
so the doctors consider
whether they should anaesthetise him here and now.
I'll give them a ring
and have someone ready to do an RSI when you get there.
They've decided to take him as he is for now. If his condition get worse en route, they'll reconsider.
Rob and Emma will travel with him in the ambulance, monitoring his condition all the way to hospital.
It's now three hours since the crash.
Brian might be out of the plane, but he's still in a critical condition.
As we'll see later, it's not over yet.
Still to come on Real Rescues, the mobile ambulance control unit
that's sent out to plane crashes and major incidents.
These are pictures from its roof-mounted camera showing an emergency at Exeter airport.
A 50-seater plane is coming in to land with severe mechanical problems.
Here's a helmet-mounted camera showing the rescue of Gilly, the cat.
Hello, puss puss.
Good girl. Gilly...
It won't be too long before we all recognise 13-year-old Eddie Manning - hello, Eddie.
He's a rising star of the theatre, but on the eve
of his first major performance, he fell and injured himself. We witnessed his big break.
Sit forward, mate.
You've got it. Good lad. Yeah? Gas and air works all right, doesn't it?
All right, mate. Nice and easy.
Just have a little look.
It's nice and still, isn't it? It's not moving.
-You fell asleep on us for a while.
Yeah. No-one laughed, don't worry.
That's all right, isn't it?
Well, it was a serious break and Eddie was in plaster for six weeks.
That caused another problem - he'd been offered a part
in a major open-air production of Into The Woods,
but only if his cast was off in time.
Miraculously, he made it - just - and was able to take to the stage.
# All the curses have been ended The reverses wiped away
# All this tenderness and laughter Forever after... #
That was Eddie singing, and the news gets even better than that - the show recently won an Olivier Award.
Eddie, congratulations. You didn't get to go on stage, but what was it like when you won that award?
The cast were all at the back and we just went mental.
-Did you? Doing what?
-We jumped out of our seats and was just...
Absolutely brilliant for you.
Tell us about the cast, because it was quite close.
You only just made it into Into The Woods, didn't you?
Yeah, I had two weeks
before we were actually going on the set.
-So you practised in the cast, did you?
Did that make it more difficult? It must have done.
Yes, because on some bits we had to use both hands,
so I couldn't really move my arm properly.
I just wondered, can I get an autograph, please?
I've never met a West End star before, so can I have an autograph?
Just write on it "To Nick".
I'm going to interrupt you, if that's OK, Nick.
As long as he can do both at the same time.
It wasn't just in the West End, because it got broadcast in cinemas as well, didn't it?
He can't do both. Do you know what, Eddie?
You'll have to practise talking and writing!
-Thanks, sorry to interrupt.
-My goodness me!
Tell us about the party as well, because you went to a party
-after you got that award. Lots of big stars there.
Who did you recognise?
Patrick Stewart was there from Star Trek.
OK, did he recognise you?
He walked past us and then he walked back and said well done to me.
-How did that feel?
-Oh, it was brilliant.
-Your mum nearly cried, didn't she? Does she always cry?
-Eddie, thank you. Lovely to meet you and good luck.
"To Nick, from Eddie" - isn't that perfect?
He swapped one cast for another. Geddit?!
See what I did? Cast! All right, I'll move on.
Back to the pilot of the crashed Piper light aircraft.
He's seriously injured and paramedics had spent hours
stabilising him before delicately removing him from the wreckage.
Now the race is on to get him to hospital.
It's three hours since the crash and Brian is on his way to hospital.
He's been prepared so he can be taken straight into surgery.
-Have you got everything you need?
-Let's get going.
-OK, Brian, we're making a move now.
It's important to reassure Brian. He can't see and he's in a lot of pain, so Emma and Rob keep talking to him.
-What happened? Did the engine just cut out?
-Oh dear, OK.
-Have you been flying for a long time?
-Is this your first crash?
-You did it in spectacular fashion, my darling.
-And you survived.
You survived, which is the big thing.
When you've been involved in a big catastrophic injury or incident,
obviously you're very emotional and want to know that you're OK,
that you haven't lost any limbs and so forth.
It's important to keep reassuring the guys, so that's just something I've done over the years, really.
From talking to the casualties later, they really hang on to that emotional support, that reassurance.
Another 20 milligrams of ketamine.
Rob administers powerful painkillers at regular intervals.
He coped really well. He wasn't panicking or making too much fuss, he was moaning
only because he was in pain and he coped really well with it.
-Are you warm enough, Brian?
They've made it to the hospital.
-Brian, we're here now, mate. You're going to be fine.
-Rob hands over to the trauma unit.
He's a 74-year-old guy and main cause of his injuries is...
He was a pilot of a light aircraft, his engine has stalled
and he's gone into the back garden of a house in Tottenham.
He was trapped for about an hour and 30 minutes.
His main injuries are he's got an eyeball injury to his right,
with exophthalmos of his right, he's got a laceration to his lower jaw,
just on his chin which is bleeding quite profusely.
He has a fractured right wrist, a probable fractured right ankle,
and a probable fractured pelvis. He's maintained his airway throughout.
No external haemorrhage, no catastrophic haemorrhage.
D has been GCS 15 throughout.
It won't be long before Brian is in surgery.
He'll now get all the attention he needs to help him recover
from his terrible injuries.
Both he and the passengers survived the air crash.
For the emergency teams,
it's been a challenging call-out and one of the most unusual.
Nice that they both survived, yeah.
It's probably the trickiest job I've done, one of the most surreal jobs I've done.
Just because you have to think on your feet.
It's not something you've done before and you're trying to remember your basic training
and get everything done in the right order, and do your best for the patient.
So how did Brian survive all of that? Well, he's here and he can tell us for himself.
How lovely to see you stood here, given the list of - I mean,
when they were going through what was wrong with you when they took you in...
-When did you realise how serious it was?
You must have known it was life-threatening.
Not really. It was a bit of a dream.
I knew I was hurt because I knew I couldn't see,
but it didn't actually hurt very much.
I think shock had taken over or whatever.
There was no real pain going on.
We've got a small list of what was wrong - give me your facial injuries to begin with.
Facial injuries - both eyes got pushed back into the brain or into that space.
The right eye burst completely - it split and stuff came out.
The jaw was in five pieces so they had to take all the bottom teeth out
to plate it up and put it back together. Broken wrist...
-Eye sockets were broken as well.
-Yes, they had to rebuild those on both sides.
For this, they did actually cut the top of my head off, lift the brain out and put the eyes...
-They did not!
They explained all this, what they were going to do at the time, to me,
for my permission. I said, as far as I'm concerned, you can do what you like. You're the experts!
It's astounding that you're stood here talking to me so soon afterwards.
It's not, it's seven months coming up so it's a long time.
I'm sure a very long time for you. The extraordinary thing,
was whilst we were recording the last series was when the accident happened so we were aware.
Watching all the emergency crews in the ambulance rooms going to work was astounding for us.
For you to have those people working around you in such a tight space must have been incredible.
I didn't realise at the time how many people were there.
I can remember talking to people, when they came along and said, "Are the electrics switched off?"
"No, but I'll do it." So I switched off the electrics.
How did you do that? You were blind at that stage.
When you fly, you tend to get to know where everything is simply by feel.
I know the switch is down here for the electrics, I know the magneto switch is over there.
-So you managed to do that even though you couldn't see out of either eye at that stage?
-The person in the other seat.
-Yeah, my passenger.
-He was an old friend of yours.
Yes, he was. I've known him for 60-some years.
You'd been talking him into going for a flight for how long?
-And how many flights had he been on before that?
-He'd never been for a flight with me.
-And he didn't want to go because...
No, he lives in Scotland. This is the problem. He lived in Scotland.
We were never together where aeroplanes are for a long time.
Right. So you went up there and he was badly injured as well.
He was injured, yes.
He had a broken nose, broken ribs, cracked vertebrae, yeah.
-Is he still talking to you?
-Oh, yes, we're still very friendly. I spoke to him at the weekend.
The other thing is the damage to the house. We can show you some pictures here.
-This is the lady's house who you bumped into.
-And left something of a hole in her roof.
-Did you manage to have a word with her?
Yes. In fact, I met her for the first time today.
-But you rang her.
-I rang her while I was still in hospital.
-To say sorry.
I don't suppose you'll be wanting to go flying again, will you?
-I'd love to fly. I'd be up there today if I could.
Really. Oh, yeah. Look, it's the freedom.
It's just a great way to enjoy yourself.
-What caused the crash?
-The engine stopped.
We never know... Nobody knows, to this day, why the engine stopped.
-And you still want to try it again?
I think you're a marvel, medically, though I think you're mad to want to do it again.
That's been said before, yeah!
-Fantastic to meet you and thank you very much for coming in.
Lovely to see you looking so well.
I cant believe he wants to go back. Let's talk to Erica.
-Are you OK? You're not on a call, are you?
-No, it's OK.
About an elderly lady who was on holiday here and she'd had a fall. Where had she had it, though?
She had a fall in the forest at Matchams.
She was down here on her own and she'd taken her two dogs
for a walk in the forest.
It was just starting to get dark and she fell over and broke her leg.
And she didn't know where she was,
but luckily we found her by tracing her through pylons
and what part of the forest and lay-bys.
So we were trying to deal with her and she said she had two dogs with her
and she didn't want to leave them.
-So, I'm a bit of an animal lover.
-You are a dog lover, are you?
-So you were immediately concerned about them as well as her?
I tried to trace dogs' homes and other people
to see if they could take the dogs on and look after them, but nobody would.
So we were told to leave the dogs in the car for the night
in the lay-by and she could collect them the next morning if she was well.
-So I had other plans.
-Did you? What did you do?
My parents lived up the road,
so I asked my mum to come down and get the dogs.
She did, and while she was there the lady said,
"I really don't want to leave my car here either, can you take that?"
Dad came down, picked up the car, took the dogs and the car back to their house.
This is what I would say is beyond the call of duty, isn't it?
It's not what we usually do.
It was a few years ago, so it was a bit quieter then.
But at the time, I thought, "I can't do this, I cant leave the dogs in the car overnight."
And do you often call your mum and dad and ask them to do favours like that?
-No. It was a one-off.
-And how long did they look after the dogs for?
It was only for 24 hours, then a family member came and picked everything up.
But it meant that she could relax a bit while she was going to hospital.
The other thing is, if you're injured, you still worry
-about your loved ones, your dogs, don't you?
She was happy, I was happy.
But it's not something we usually do, I must say.
People shouldn't expect to be able to call up, should they?
-No, definitely not.
-Erica, thank you very much.
Nick, where are you?
I'm in another emergency control room,
only this one's mobile and can be sent to the scene of major incidents.
It still co-ordinates the emergency operation but can do so on the ground.
And this camera looking down on me is just one of the gadgets on board.
Come and have a chat to Tony Savill, who can tell us more about it.
Tony, why do you need a mobile truck like this to go to an incident?
It allows us to have eyes on the ground so we are able to be there,
co-ordinate what's going on at the scene and see
exactly what's going on.
There's more than one camera. This is the one you put on the incident commander, is that right?
-So you get his view.
If you look at the screen, his view is the one on the right.
And the one on the top of the truck is the one on the left.
There are so many different emergency services there,
-so having a control room like this actually does the job for you.
-Take us through this incident. This is one that you attended at Exeter airport.
-In Exeter airport, yes.
We had reports coming in of a plane coming in with undercarriage problems,
but it was quite a large plane and we had some notice,
so we made the decision to deploy the vehicle in advance.
Let us have a look and see how it progresses.
We gave our incident commander the headset, got everything ready
and got in.
We were there while he was circling to get rid of fuel
to make it safe to land, and eventually he comes in.
We're looking on the right because that's the incident commander on the bus.
What's the bus for?
It was there to take the other emergency services
and airport staff to the scene of the incident.
As you can see, the plane's just coming in here now.
-And there how many people on board?
-50 people on board that plane.
-You can see one of the tyres has gone on the left-hand side.
-So the pilot did an amazing job of getting that down.
It was a difficult landing, I would imagine.
However, if that had crashed, and that was the worry,
you've got a plane with 50 people on board skewing across the runway,
which is why you had so many people there.
Absolutely. We were there in advance, ready for it to happen.
Everybody was pre-deployed, so if the worst had occurred
we'd be in a position to deal with it.
Why is this of use? I can see you're filming here, great for training purposes,
but in terms of a live feed back to the command centre, how does that help you?
It allows commanders who are looking after the incident,
as well as the other counties that we deal with,
to have a view of what's going on. If you can see it,
it's much easier than reading it on the screen.
-How important is this kit for you?
-Very important indeed.
Smashing. Thanks very much, Tony.
It's an old stereotype that firefighters spend their time
rescuing cats up trees and on high roofs,
but is it really a good use of their time?
The problem is owners will go to any lengths to save
their much-loved pets, whatever the risk.
A professional rescue ensures everyone stays safe.
This black cat is going nowhere. She's climbed as far as she can.
It's at least 30 feet down and this animal's clearly in no mood
to attempt a descent.
It's a job for the fire service.
How are you doing, fella?
-In charge is animal-rescue specialist, Buster Brown.
-Come and have a look.
Judging by its neck attire, this cat is not any old stray.
In fact, she's a much-loved pet
and has been the subject of a missing-moggy campaign.
Her owner, Andrea, was delighted to find it had worked.
I got a phone call from a neighbour down the road -
she's about 20 houses down - saying that they
could see a cat from their bedroom window.
They got their binoculars out and they thought, "Oh, it's a cat."
I didn't know what to do. I automatically thought, "I can't get up there."
Luckily, it's being left to the professionals.
If it's been up there that length of time, it's really not going to make its way down
without some assistance.
The reason we are going up there
is because members of the public will put themselves at risk,
climbing the roof themselves.
On this particular pitch here, it would be quite easy for someone to climb up onto the wall
then onto the garage roof and try to stretch up and climb up the tiles unaided.
By us removing the cat, it takes away the risk that they might endanger themselves.
I was amazed.
I was laughing at one stage for the sake of,
"I can't believe it's my cat."
For the sake of sheer shock that, "That's my cat on that roof."
This is potentially very dangerous work.
I'm going to climb up the ladder
wearing this harness,
and I'll clip this onto the ladder that I'm on
and I'll stay on the ladder or on the ridge of the roof so that basically I've actually got
some method of securing me to something tangible.
Should I slip, I'm not going to fall off the roof.
A bit more, fella.
First, they have to clear the drive to get the ladders in place.
That's great. Well done, mate.
Gill the cat has remained pretty much rooted to the spot.
She barely turns a hair when the ladders are put up.
I think it will come to me quite easily.
Buster needs a good head for heights.
30 feet may not sound very far but this is what it looks like.
Come on. Come on.
Gill senses that this is the only route to safety,
making Buster's work a little easier.
Yeah, hello. Oh, mate.
However, putting a cat in a basket 30 feet up is potentially stomach-churning.
Tried and practised, tried and practised.
He's done it.
Gill is in the basket and on her way down to earth,
straight back to an RSPCA inspector who hands her over to Andrea
and her family.
I was so pleased to have her back down. It was amazing.
She's a lovely cat and I couldn't live without her.
Everyone comes round to see Gill more than to see me.
It's lovely to have her home.
And Gill, it seems, is happy to leave the high life behind.
She's quite homely now.
Whether it's down to the weather or whether it is down to
her incident, she's a cat that wants to stay home.
Honestly, that answers a question that I've often had,
which is, when you look at these units - I love animals and don't want to see them come to any harm -
but is it worth all that money to send people out do this?
It is if somebody's going to follow them and fall out of the tree.
Would you follow your cat up onto the roof to try and rescue it?
-Oh, I... I don't... Maybe.
-Yes, you probably would.
There would be an ambulance at the bottom to get you back.
-Maybe I wouldn't now.
-Have you learned anything today?
-I didn't know that triage...
what it meant... I didn't know it meant sorting.
Yes, it's a posh word. If you're told, "I'm going to sort you," you're not happy.
But "You're going to see the triage." "I'm happy, thanks."
-That's all for today. Join us next time for more Real Rescues. See you then.
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 sees the multi-service rescue of a badly injured pilot who has crashed his plane into a house and suburban garden, and the reason why firemen rescue cats from roofs and trees is revealed.