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If you're critically ill or seriously injured in a place like this,
there's only one thing that can save you, and that's speed.
No matter where you are,
this helicopter with its highly-trained team of pilots and paramedics
will fly to your rescue at 4.5 miles a minute.
These are Yorkshire's helicopter heroes.
When the people of Britain's biggest county dial 999,
there's a good chance help will come from the skies.
The Yorkshire Air Ambulance is ready to scramble 365 days a year.
Each one brings a new life-or-death emergency.
Today on Helicopter Heroes:
a pleasure flight ends in a terrible crash
and the pilot's wife is trapped.
Is this blood loss been from head injury?
You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know this hurts.
He's a bright guy, a character!
But is so happens this patient works for NASA.
A new home-owner has an unexpected visitor.
I've been here just three months. I haven't even unpacked yet!
And the former flight attendant determined to become one of the Helimed team.
Having your own private plane is a dream for thousands.
Weekends away and no traffic jams!
But flying a light aircraft
is not as safe as checking in for that jet to the sun.
As one couple found out on one sunny summer's day.
The skies over Yorkshire are a playground for weekend pilots.
And when a plane crashes, the Helimed team scramble instantly.
..a green field. We're trying to sort out who's going out.
The crew are keen to get on the way, but Helimed 99 must take on more fuel
before it can take off.
The team don't waste any time, though,
as they finalise their route to the crash scene.
East of Norton-on-Derwent. Find Norton-on-Derwent,
which is here. Come east.
Is it next door to Eddsfield airfield?
-That's where we'll be.
-That's where it is.
50 miles away, emergency services are fighting to free the female passenger
in a plane that left the runway and crashed through the hedge
at an airstrip on top of the Yorkshire Wolds.
We found a 49-year-old patient
trapped in the cockpit of the plane.
Airborne at last, paramedic Ben Anderson is only on his second week in the air
and he knows his skills will be tested today.
I got told head injury and leg injury that was bleeding profusely.
At least Tony Wilkes has been to air crashes before
and the scene of the accident is familiar.
A light aircraft has crashed. Not sure if it's on takeoff or landing.
It's at an airfield that we know.
Every now and again we call in for some fuel.
Obviously, they're not designed to crash, but you do.
You don't always have the protection that you'd like.
At Eddsfield, the tiny airfield near the market town of Driffield,
part-time fire-fighters are hard at work
removing the canopy of the plane to reach Denise Lee
whose husband Brian was flying.
Helimed pilot JJ Smith
is curious to find out what went wrong.
-Did she go through the fence?
Check for landing, please.
At last, Helimed 99 is on final approach to Eddsfield.
JJ isn't hanging about.
It's going to be rough as we go down, guys.
He knows an airfield won't have the wires and trees
he has to look out for on a normal approach.
Businessman and part-time pilot Brian Lee was coming in to land
when something went wrong and his £50,000 Robin light plane
careered off the end of the runway,
smashed through a ledge and hit a fence.
Now his wife is badly hurt.
What's it gone up to now?
-It's when she moves it, it whops straight up to ten.
Despite wearing a full safety harness,
both bones in Denise's right leg are broken
and she's bleeding heavily from a cut to her head.
Has all this blood loss just been from head injury?
Was someone sat here as well?
What's worrying the fire brigade
is the high-octane aviation fuel leaking from the damaged tanks in the aircraft's wings.
If it catches fire, they'll have seconds to react.
It's still leaking fuel.
To make things worse, they can't rule out a spinal injury,
which means moving Denise quickly could paralyse her.
It's a dangerous situation.
All we've done is assist by removing the canopy
to help release the casualty.
The lady's not actually trapped, but it'll be a difficult extrication
because of her injuries.
We're going to put her on a spine board
and then lift her out.
Have we got any more... Can we get another BP at all,
-or is it gonna cause...
-Yeah, we can...
The damage to the aircraft is an indication of the deceleration
Denise experienced as the aircraft hit the fence.
Now Brian, who escaped unhurt,
can only stand and watch the battle to free his wife.
The pilot is walking wounded,
but not seriously wounded.
They're both very lucky. Both very lucky.
Once we start moving her, the thing is...
Denise's badly broken leg and fears for her back
means the operation to lift her from the cockpit
will have to be long and delicate.
And the fuel is continuing to leak.
I'm concerned at the minute that the aircraft's still leaking fuel.
We'll be as quick as we can to get out of this position.
It's definite fractured legs.
But she's not unconscious, so that's as bad as it's gonna get.
But to be honest, we're not gonna take too long to get her out
and make it safe.
Coming up: the team prepare to free Denise,
but it isn't going to be easy.
Lean on her side and bring her legs forward.
A van driver crashes into a roadside house.
He's extremely lucky to get out the way he has.
And new paramedic Al needs a head for heights
to treat his first patient.
Let's feel your chest.
Mountain biking is a booming sport.
Serious off-road riders head to the North Yorkshire hills
to test out their skills.
But coming off one can have serious consequences.
The North York Moors National Park
is one of the UK's biggest tourist attractions.
500 square miles of rolling hills.
Thousands come here to ride the steam railway
or hike 1,400 miles of moorland footpath.
But Dalby Forest, in the heart of the park,
conceals another more dangerous attraction.
Paramedic Pat Greaken is about to meet up with an unusual patient.
A mountain biker who's come off on a track in the heart of the trees.
It's not the Americans' fault that you good people...
It's clear he's not local!
AMERICAN ACCENT: I'm not going to Disneyland, for sure!
31-year-old Gabriel Sibley is from Boulder, Colorado.
He's no stranger to coming off things at high speed.
I've shattered my right hand. I have seven pins in my right hand.
And that morphine's BLEEP hardcore.
I barf like a BLEEP.
I can give you something for vomiting.
As well as having a way with words,
Pat's patient seems to have a clear idea of what's going to happen.
In fact, he's a bit of an expert!
I hope you're good at intravenous tapping!
I'm not saying a word at the moment!
By the way, thanks, everybody. I appreciate it.
Sorry if I'm angering anybody by being a BLEEP or whatever!
It's becoming apparent that Gabriel is an unusual sort of patient.
It turns out he helps build space rockets!
Gabriel is a mate of mine from Oxford.
He studies robotics down in Oxford.
And he came over from the US
and he's a bit of an outdoor sports nut-head, basically!
He's a bright bloke. He worked for NASA as well! He's a bright guy, a character!
When not designing lunar buggies,
Gabriel also does some international down-hill skiing.
But today, simply riding a bike downhill has gone very wrong.
I found out he was quite badly,
so I called the ambulance.
Tried to find the best reference I could.
We just kept him calm and cool and he's done really well.
By the way, mate, well done. Thank you for calling for us.
-What's your name?
It's so steep. It's really quick down here.
Then you hit this and he just basically took off.
There's too much speed and he just launched it.
He landed on his head.
There's bits of the helmet scattered over here.
Look at this, pieces of his helmet.
If he didn't have his helmet on...
Over. The bike's all right.
Apart from the front wheel.
Have some more gas, Gabriel. That's it.
Cycle helmets are really solid.
For Gabriel's to have broken into pieces on impact
means it's been a huge smash.
Do you want more gas?
Even with morphine, Gabriel's pain is getting worse.
I'll take it if it'll pipe me down.
It'll make you feel more comfortable. That's it.
Without an x-ray, it's impossible to see the damage he's done.
He could have a serious neck or back injury.
One thing's certain. They need to move him from here and on to hospital as quickly as possible.
Coming up: the cyclist who launched himself into space
is prepared for another takeoff.
Fire-fighters fear an explosion as the operation to free a pilot's wife reaches its climax.
And new paramedic Kate meets a man whose DIY hobby cost him his fingers.
The worst-case scenario is they'll amputate them.
Starting a new life in a rural area sounds great.
But sometimes, a room with a view of the countryside
can also have a main road at the front door.
And that can have its dangers.
Moving into a new house
can be one of the most stressful things you'll ever do,
especially if you're doing the renovations yourself.
Jacqueline Simpson bought this cottage near Thirsk, north Yorkshire, last year
and spends all her time doing it up.
And then this happens.
A lorry has careered into the side of Jacqueline's new home.
She's still inside, and the driver's injured.
'There is now a responder on scene
'and it transpires there's a patient with a hand injury'
and they're trapped and also unconscious.
The fire crews are worried.
The impact of the crash may mean that the wall of Jacqueline's house has become unstable.
They make a decision to get the driver out of his cab quickly.
We first tried to get him out through the driver's door.
But we realised because of his injuries, that wasn't a practical thing to do.
So the obvious thing to do was remove the front windscreen,
which we cut out with a saw, then it was easy to access him through the window.
The destruction is visible from 500 feet.
I can roughly do that landing site.
There are big wires there.
We're going in on the road, yeah?
Yeah, we'll go on the road. There's a set of wires across.
I'll approach over the top of that.
With police roadblocks halting the traffic,
the narrow road outside Jacqueline's house
makes the perfect helipad.
The van driver, David Burton, is a local landscape gardener.
Flying paramedic Pete Vallance knows he's in a critical condition.
The fact that you've got out of that wagon that's on its side into a building.
We have to take it for granted you may have hurt your back.
The fire crew that rescued David now need to hold him down
to protect his spine.
His head injury has left him confused
and he's trying to stand up.
-I want to stand up.
-No, you have to lie down.
Dave, can you put your legs down?
The paramedics know that what's happening inside David's head
can be more worrying than the cuts and bruises they can see.
We don't believe he's been unconscious, but he's got lower back pain.
It doesn't appear to be as severe as we initially thought
but looking at the wreckage,
the possibility of other injuries that are hidden at the moment
Jacqueline is still inside, being comforted by friends.
Quite a high impact involved in the smash.
He's extremely lucky to get out of it the way he has done.
Quick thinking and team work by the emergency services
means that Dave is now ready for his flight to hospital.
He'll be taken to the specialist neurological team at Leeds General Infirmary.
Back at the scene of the accident,
Jacqueline is still in shock. She was hanging curtains in the living room
when the lorry came hurtling towards her.
I was standing at that window, removing the newspaper
to allow the sunshine to come through
to dry this damp-proofing and plastering.
I've been here just three months. I haven't even unpacked yet.
A huge, huge bang
and instinctively I ran away and I realised there was an accident.
I still feel terribly shocked.
I can hardly believe this has happened.
But it is a lucky escape.
'Helimed 98 Delta. Clear the ATZ to the north.'
Jacqueline may have escaped serious injury,
but the same can't be said for David.
Helimed 98 is half-way into the 15-minute journey to Leeds General Infirmary
and there's increasing concern for his condition.
Head injuries are one of the hardest conditions to treat out of hospital.
Without a scan, they can't know whether David has suffered one of the most serious head injuries,
If there is bleeding inside his skull
it could be putting pressure on his brain
and that can be fatal.
DAVID CALLS OUT IN PAIN
-Ooh, that hurt!
-Sorry about that.
-Where did that hurt?
-Just in me back.
David has gone from mangled wreckage to specialist trauma hospital
in less than one hour.
But he faces an anxious wait to find out if his injuries are as serious as they appear.
A few weeks later, and David's back home, but not back to normal.
Fortunately, his head injury wasn't serious, but the scans and x-rays picked up something else.
He's broken his back.
I've got a big scar at the back of my head.
Apparently I've broken my back in one place.
In the middle. I think it's 12. C12 or something.
I've broken my back and I've got to wear one of these...
..for another two or three weeks, if not longer.
It is upsetting because I was hoping to be able to work till I was 70.
But whether I'll be able to drive
or whether I'll be able to work or take notes, I don't know.
And there's another twist in this story.
David actually owns the field next to Jacqueline's house.
The previous owner sold the field to me and my partner
and we bought the field at the back, about three acres.
But there's a good reason why David didn't buy the cottage.
It's too close to the road, for a start!
I've seen too many vehicles go into the front of it!
That's little comfort for Jacqueline.
But she remains determined to live in Bridge House.
There's lots to do and it'll be a few more months before her new house is finished.
But she's still managing to look on the bright side.
Things could have been for somebody an awful lot worse.
But it wasn't, and so I'm very grateful for that.
It's the cosmetic side of things now.
I'm looking forward immensely to unpacking my things,
buying some furniture,
and decorating, and just creating a home for myself, really.
I'd be deeply unhappy if anything like this happened again.
But I suppose it's possible.
Coming up: a NASA scientist heads for touchdown in the NHS.
He's in a lot of pain with his back.
And there are testing times for the new recruits fighting to become flying medics.
Let's get back to the Yorkshire Wolds
where a pilot's wife is trapped in the wreckage of her husband's light plane.
The crew of Helimed 99 had to wait to top up their tanks
before they could scramble to an air crash at a remote airfield on top of the Yorkshire Wolds.
East of Norton-on-Derwent. Find Norton-on-Derwent, which is here.
Now paramedics Ben and Tony are helping fire-fighters
struggling with the complicated extrication of the pilot's wife, Denise Lee.
My colleague will slap you on some morphine now.
Proper stuff, Denise.
She broke both bones in her left leg
after the family light plane left the runway, crashed through a hedge,
and hit a fence during a difficult landing.
OK. We've got a female, obviously she's crashed in a light aircraft.
Age 49 years.
She has some lacerations to her head and a fractured tib and fib.
We're going to Scarborough, ETA possibly 20 to 25 minutes
but I'll update you nearer the time. Over.
It's the fuel leaking from the wrecked Robin light aircraft
that's worrying the fire brigade.
One spark could cause a devastating explosion.
Tony knows there's no time to waste.
His patient needs urgent hospital treatment.
We'll have to be careful how we're extricating her.
The ideal way is to get her straight back
but she's vertically upright so we can't get the board in.
We've got a vice on her but it's not fitted properly cos we can't get to her legs.
Just maintaining security of the C-spine
in case she's got any neck or back injuries.
But we can't secure it round her legs properly.
We're worried if we pull her from a vertical position it's gonna come off.
We're gonna lean her on her side and hope the legs follow.
But she's got definite fractures, so we have to be careful.
Will that board come in any more?
We need a few hefty people round this side that can lift well.
Are you a good lifter?
We're only ever gonna move at six inches at a time.
Denise's husband Brian is doing his best not to show his feelings.
He's trying to comfort his wife as the operation to free her enters its final phase.
Sorry about this, sweetie. Ready, steady, lift.
DENISE CRIES OUT
Quite a smooth extrication at the end of the day.
We'll get her on the aircraft, give her some more pain relief
and reassess her injuries.
Light aircraft don't have the crash protection motorists enjoy.
No airbags or crumple zones.
The team think the rudder pedals on which Denise's feet were resting
may be responsible for her broken bones.
But they can't rule out even more serious injuries.
Coming up: Denise reaches hospital, but are her flying days over?
And the team's new paramedics learn how to become fire-fighters as their training continues.
If you hurt yourself in America,
the first question they'll ask you in hospital is your credit card number.
Up in north Yorkshire, one patient from the States
is about to find out about free health care
on the NHS.
Helimed 99 has landed at a mountain bike track
in the Dalby Forest in north Yorkshire.
Their patient is Gabriel Sibley from Colorado.
He's a robotics scientist who's worked for NASA.
But he came to earth with a bang when his mountain bike launched him into space.
Paramedics Pat and Sammy are unsure of his injuries
but he's in great pain.
Gabriel, I want you to put this arm up there.
OK. Same with that one.
-Aghh! I can't!
I can't move that arm. It hurts too much.
Where does it hurt? In the wrist? Elbow? Shoulder?
-In the ribs in the back.
They have to assume the worst - spinal damage.
They need to move him onto a rigid board to protect his back.
You can see the problem on that right shoulder.
The chopper landed in a field 200 metres from the cycle track.
If he's got a spinal injury, they need to carry him smoothly over the rough terrain.
Fortunately, all his extreme sportsmen mates are on hand to help out.
Do you remember the accident at all, Gabriel?
I did one lap, and then I went again
and I guess on the first jump I went too far.
-Do you remember falling and being on the floor?
-Is there some black areas?
-I remember right before I hit
then it's black.
Gabriel can see that there are problems with his hands and finger.
He has enough medical knowledge of his own to realise the symptoms
of a potential problem.
Can you just check that my left finger is too cold?
I mean, the blood circulation might... Left middle, I think.
-It's really cold.
-That's the one that's deformed.
-It feels really cold.
Pilot Steve gets the helicopter on the way to the James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough.
It's ten minutes across the North York Moors.
Pat's worried about Gabriel,
particular the injuries he can't see.
At the moment, he's stable. He's taken a big fall at speed,
landing on his head and back.
We believe he's broken both his wrists
and sustained internal injuries we can't see.
We want to get him to hospital, get him checked out.
But my main concern is his back.
Once they land in Middlesbrough,
it's a short push from the helicopter to the only person
who can diagnose Gabriel's injuries.
A trauma consultant armed with x-rays.
Gabriel's just grateful he's here.
Some of the world's most gifted scientists work at Oxford University.
The academics' choice of transport is the pushbike.
But not Gabriel. At least, not yet.
This is a CT scan of the head, looking for head injuries.
It's been a few weeks since his accident.
He's back at work and analysing data -
his own battered body!
I broke number four and number five metacarpals,
a compound fracture. It came out right here.
The break in number four started at the head of a pin
from a previous break when I was 16. There's seven pins in there.
I really bruised the inside of my upper right torso here.
And my back. That's what I was most worried about.
That hurt way more than my hands hurt.
I could see the bones coming out and that's what hurt me.
Ow! Ow! Ow!
Listening to it, really more than seeing it,
you can hear the sound of the pain. Yeah.
Have some more gas for me. Good lad.
Slightly relax your arms. We'll put a blanket underneath.
To make such a simple error as to go too fast over a big jump
is not something I would do. I've never done that.
I've been hitting jumps for a long, long time.
So, yeah, definitely, it shook me up.
In the USA, Gabriel says the care that he has had
would have cost many thousands of pounds and he's very grateful.
But there is one piece of kit that didn't cost a lot.
And he owes it his life.
I still have a bump on my forehead. I think it'll go.
Yeah. If it wasn't for that helmet, I don't think I'd be here.
Coming up: A pilot's wife finally reaches hospital.
But has she really escaped a plane crash with just a broken leg?
Being a paramedic on the road takes special skills.
You have to be able to think quickly and clearly
when everyone else is panicking.
And you have to master complex medical procedures.
Imagine trying to find someone who can do all that
in one of these!
Everyone who's ever been in the emergency services
will tell you that despite all the training,
driving on blue lights gives you a buzz like no other.
Add to that the job satisfaction that comes with saving someone's life,
and you can understand why there's no shortage of people wanting to be paramedics.
But today, more than 30 ambulance staff
want to give all that up for a place in a cockpit.
There are job vacancies at the Helimed team.
And the competition is fierce.
'A lot of nervous people wandering about the unit today.'
Some of them have been waiting up to two years for today.
First, they've got to pass an exam and a tough interview.
Every job interview is stressful.
But the candidates for the Helimed job know that today
they're up against the cream of the ambulance service.
I've been on a couple of jobs when they've come in and conveyed patients.
It's something that I've always thought, "That looks good. I'd like to do that."
Outdoor enthusiast Al Day is one of the first to face the interview panel.
I think once I got over the initial nerves of it,
and I started to get going, it wasn't actually too bad.
I've been in mountain rescue for a long, long time as a volunteer
so I've always been interested in rescues and that kind of thing.
Just a perfect job.
Kate Coughlin's already flown as an observer on the chopper.
She comes highly qualified.
As well as being a paramedic,
she did three years as an airline flight attendant.
I did a day out with Simon and Paul about three years ago.
It was a great experience.
I'm down to the last stage, so fingers crossed!
And there's good news for both Al and Kate.
They've beaten off all the other candidates
to take a coveted seat in one of their Helimed helicopters.
But there's little time to celebrate.
There's a lot for our new recruits to learn.
So, where to now for our successful candidates?
Well, it's not up in this just yet. First stop, it's back to school.
At an airbase in Gloucestershire, it's a big day for the successful recruits.
Their first day as trainee air crew.
The Earth is divided into parallels and latitude.
It takes years to become an experienced aviator.
But these guys have got only two weeks before their first shift.
No pressure there, then!
Cumulus, that's a little layer of fluffy cloud.
Can bring rain occasionally.
-That's layers of fluffy bits.
-Layers of fluffy bits.
I don't know my stratus Columbus from my cumulus nimbus!
Hmm. Not sure they've quite grasped the weather charts just yet!
Let's see if they're any better at dealing with an aircraft that's on fire.
Helicopters can and do have accidents.
With a 1,000-litre fuel tank,
a fire on board is a real risk.
If that happens, they need to be ready to deal with it.
So, they've got the jobs, done the basic training,
but the real hard work starts here for the Helimed team's fledgling aviators.
They've got four weeks to learn the basics of navigating the skies
the hard way.
With just a few days to go before they start their new job for real,
some of the more experienced members of the Helimed team
are about to put the new recruits through their paces.
The biggest problem is when you go off the aviation maps onto the local area OS maps
and suddenly you're covering the ground
ten times faster.
It's very hard to go from one to the other quickly.
You shoot past where you're going
and then you're lost and it's hard to get back onto it.
If the weather's bad and they're working hard and we have a pilot from out of the region,
then it's a team effort.
Trying to get from A to B quickly, they need to know their map skills.
A rough heading...
New recruit Kate Atkinson
is in the co-pilot's seat.
She's used to navigating around the streets of Wakefield, west Yorkshire.
Now she's plotting routes across parts of the country she's never seen before.
As long as we keep that railway on our right-hand side...
-Left-hand side! I did point left!
With just a few small mistakes,
Kate, along with the other new flying paramedics, successfully make it through their training.
Now it's time for the true test for our new paramedics,
when a job comes in for real.
Malham Tarn's dead ahead, into Pen-y-Ghent.
One o'clock, just behind it.
Whernside's off to our... Well, two o'clock. 12 o'clock, probably.
When an emergency call comes in that someone is suffering chest pains
on top of Pen-y-Ghent, one of the highest hills in Yorkshire,
Helimed 99 is immediately dispatched.
The patient could be having a heart attack
and is in a dangerously remote location.
For new paramedic Al, this is familiar terrain.
For years he's been a volunteer member of the mountain rescue team.
But from the air, things can be a little disorientating at first.
A solitary person looks like he may be signalling to us at about four o'clock.
On the ridgeline. Sorry, not four o'clock. Eight o'clock.
Identifying one person in a vast landscape
when all you have is a rough grid reference can be tricky.
Everyone on board has a role to play in identifying the casualty.
Once located, they then have to find somewhere safe to land,
all the while knowing that the clock could be ticking for the patient.
-It looks very wet, though, Steve.
Come left, it looks drier. Can you see?
-Is it black?
-Yeah, it is.
Coming left about ten.
Keep coming. Tail looks clear.
57-year-old Stefan Yanecki was hiking with friends on Pen-y-Ghent
when things started to go badly wrong.
Hello there, sir. How are you feeling?
Rough? Tell me what's happened.
You've got some pain, have you?
In your chest?
-Me legs have gone.
-Have you still got pain in your chest?
-It's aching a bit.
This may be Al's first job on the air ambulance,
but he's had to deal with dozens of injured and unwell walkers in his time,
both as a paramedic and as a member of the mountain rescue team.
For now, it's important to establish whether Stefan could be critically ill
by giving him an ECG to see if he's having a heart attack.
I just need to have a feel of your chest, Stefan,
to get these in the right place, OK?
We were just out for a walk
and we were coming down the hill
and he began to feel very unwell.
He was a bit dizzy earlier, but we thought it was just the steep hill.
Then we thought we probably need to go back and get him off.
But he couldn't make it so we sat him by the wall and called the ambulance.
Al's first job, he's doing absolutely fine. It's his home territory,
being part of the mountain rescue team.
Hopefully, he'll be showing me a few things!
The results of the ECG look good for Stefan,
but the paramedics don't want to take any chances.
He needs to be checked over in hospital
and the fastest way to get him off the mountain is by helicopter.
We've got him on-board and he's got a bit of pain.
We'll give him some morphine to make him more comfortable for the trip.
It's only a short hop to Blackburn, about seven or eight minutes away.
Cardiac patients, we like to keep 'em comfortable.
Minutes later, they're airborne.
Stefan is now on his way from the top of one of Yorkshire's highest peaks
to the care of a fully-equipped hospital.
He seems to be doing OK. His pain is easier than it was
when we first arrived.
Some of the medication we've given him seems to be taking effect.
He's fairly comfortable at the moment.
So a short trip to hospital
and we'll be able to deliver him into some definitive care.
This has been Al's first job flying with the air ambulance.
But it won't be his last.
It may be Day One, but he's already making a difference.
So is paramedic Kate.
Helimed 99 is on its way to help a man who's cut off four fingers with a circular saw.
Kate has dealt with all sorts of injuries in eight years with the ambulance service.
But nothing like this.
I had a chap that had impaled a meat hook into his hand
but I've never actually had someone's fingers amputated.
So it's all new.
If there's anything they can do with the fingers, time's critical.
Just have to see when we get there how much damage has been done.
This is the third case in as many months
where someone has chopped off fingers or a hand
and the Yorkshire air ambulance has been called to help.
It's thought that over 15,000 people are injured by saws every year.
But this case is especially serious.
He's been chopping wood on a rotary saw.
The fingers have gone into it.
The forefinger is as good as amputated, held on with skin.
He's nicked the middle finger.
That finger's all but off, just held on by a little flap.
-And the little finger's all but amputated as well.
-And his thumb.
The crew from the land ambulance have already given immediate first aid.
But they've called in the helicopter because the quicker their patient gets to hospital,
the better the chances of saving his fingers.
Inside the house, Kate meets some of her colleagues from her days on the road.
You wanted to find me something, didn't you?
-This is George.
63-year-old George Chapman seems remarkably relaxed
considering he's just sliced off four of his fingers!
His hand has been tightly bound to prevent any further blood loss
or damage to the fingers.
But astonishingly, George has refused any pain killers.
Kate, I'll get aircraft ready.
That's it. You're with us.
I'm gonna get you to sign I've handed over to you.
Just in case there's any comeback! Thanks, Kath!
You might get there and his whole arm will be missing!
It wasn't like that when I left him.
Now the crew must see if they can get permission to fly George to a specialist centre
where plastic surgeons can attempt to stitch his fingers back on.
The digits are off, so he needs them putting back on.
We need to get him to somewhere as quick as we can.
I'm getting confirmation of whether we go to Leeds or York.
George continues to astonish the crew
by walking to the helicopter and joking with a neighbour on the way.
Still without any pain relief!
Just had an accident! Val will let you know about it.
It's a short journey to fly George to the Leeds Infirmary
where plastic surgeons are standing by
to try and re-attach his fingers.
He's been given the best possible chance
but there are no guarantees.
Well, it depends how much damage has been done
as to whether they can get the circulation going again and the use of his fingers.
The worst-case scenario is they'll just amputate them.
For new paramedic Kate, her first week has been a baptism of fire.
There will be plenty more like this to come.
As a member of the Yorkshire air ambulance team,
she will deal with serious injury or major trauma on a daily basis.
I'm pleased to say all our new recruits made the grade
and are now ready to fly on life-saving missions unsupervised.
Now let's join one of them, Ben Anderson, at work
at a plane crash in east Yorkshire.
Ben's been caring for pilot's wife Denise Lee for more than half an hour
and reassuring her that her injuries could have been a lot worse.
In my opinion, it looks a lot worse than it is.
It's a scalp injury that's bleeding everywhere.
-If you look in the aircraft, you're lucky to be alive.
Ben took several flying lessons before fatherhood got in the way.
He knows weekend fliers are among the air ambulance's biggest supporters.
The Helimed call sign is well known to anyone listening to air traffic control.
But it turns out Denise's support for the air ambulance goes a lot further than most.
She's been selling charity raffle tickets for them.
-We'd best look after you, then!
-I've got £1,000 of tickets to sell!
OK. We have a vested financial interest in looking after you!
It's less than an hour since Denise took off from the runway at Eddsfield.
Now she's airborne again,
this time for the short flight to Scarborough Hospital
where her injuries will be thoroughly checked out.
OK. A mast at 12 o'clock.
The crash team is waiting to examine Denise and x-ray her back.
Only half the people who experience an air crash survive.
So Denise has already beaten the odds.
The next 24 hours will reveal whether she's really been fortunate enough
to escape with just a broken leg and cuts.
Just three weeks later,
and in the picturesque village of Egton Bridge near Whitby,
Denise is recovering at home with husband Brian.
She knows she's lucky to be alive, and so does he.
It happens in a split second. I'd made the decision
that the speedo was going and if I kicked it to left or right
I may have turned it over and we'd have been upside-down.
I'd said to Denise, "We won't make it."
You see the hedge coming up, you tuck your elbows in and put your head down
and hope for the best!
And I came away quite lightly.
It was Denise that was injured. I just scratched a finger.
But it's better now. Don't worry!
All I remember is the hedge tree stumps coming through,
the glass coming through and...
I just covered my face. That was it.
Then everybody running around being very nice and you know.
Amazingly, the crash hasn't put them off flying.
Denise is studying for her pilot's licence
and is determined to carry on when her leg heals.
When Helicopter Heroes comes back,
a police spy in the sky swoops on the National Park's bikers.
But too late to prevent a serious accident.
I smacked straight into him. All I could see was an explosion of bike bits.
There's a road smash and the Helimed team are scrambled.
His finger's gone as well.
High in the Pennines, a paraglider crashes
and needs a life-saving flight to hospital.
He was on a paraglider and come in to land.
And the show-jumpers riding for a fall.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd