Episode 15 Helicopter Heroes


Episode 15

Rav Wilding looks at the work of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. A boy has a nasty fall while visiting his gran, and a village is brought to a standstill by a multiple pile-up.


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Transcript


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If you're critically ill or seriously injured in a place like this,

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there's only one thing that can save you, and that's speed.

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It doesn't matter where you are, this helicopter, with trained pilots and paramedics,

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will fly to your rescue at two-and-a-half-miles a minute.

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These are Yorkshire's Helicopter Heroes.

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When the people of Britain's biggest county dial 999,

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there's a good chance help will come from the skies.

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The Yorkshire Air Ambulance is ready to scramble 365 days a year,

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and each one brings a new life-or-death emergency.

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Today on Helicopter Heroes, a major road accident

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paralyses a village, but one victim can only think of others.

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-How is the other guy?

-The trouble is he's stuck in the cab.

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A driver is crushed by his own runaway truck.

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He's been dragged quite a way down the road.

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Can I just have a little listen of your tummy?

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A little boy falls six foot on a day out at gran's.

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And the unsung heroes who help the Helimed team save lives.

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The UK has thousands of road ambulances on standby 24 hours a day,

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but helicopters are just too expensive to have dozens waiting around.

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Yorkshire has five million people,

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but just two air ambulances.

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When there's a serious accident with multiple casualties,

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the Helimed fleet comes into its own.

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In East Yorkshire, a small village has been brought to a standstill.

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There's been a head-on smash between a minibus and a car transporter

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on the main road through the village.

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The minibus has gone into the path of the transporter.

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There's been a collision and that's put the transporter off the road

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into the garden wall that you can see behind me now.

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The transporter has narrowly missed a row of terraced houses,

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and amongst the twisted metal and collapsed garden walls,

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the two drivers are seriously injured.

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With numerous witnesses to the accident,

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999 calls are flooding in and Helimed 99 is quickly scrambled.

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With the nearest hospital over 20 miles away, the decision's

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made to also send Helimed 98 from its base in Sheffield.

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ETA between 15 and 18 minutes, over.

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Our other helicopter has been dispatched about 15 minutes ago.

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Those on the scene have requested two helicopters to be in attendance.

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We've got a 15 minute transit. We've heard from our other air ambulance

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to say there are two patients and the one that we're going to be

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taking is still trapped in the car transporter.

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With Helimed 98 still speeding north, Helimed 99 paramedics Lee Davison and Colin Jones

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are the first to arrive in the village of Holme On Spalding Moor.

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-This is Mark.

-How are we doing, chief?

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He was driving this Mercedes here.

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Quite a devastating impact with the transporter.

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A lot of frontal-end damage, so obviously potential for fractures and head injuries, things like that.

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We've got to keep an eye on the patients -

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we'll try and get the other aircraft here as quick as we can.

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Ground paramedics found minibus driver Mark in the middle of the road,

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but it's a mystery how he got there,

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and one that paramedic Colin needs to solve quickly.

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How did you actually end up on here?

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-He doesn't remember.

-No idea at all?

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Witnesses say he was thrown out of the driver's seat

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and into the path of the car transporter.

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If he's been hit by the lorry, his head injury could be very serious.

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Just take a really deep breath for me.

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-Does that feel all right?

-Yeah.

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OK. And again.

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Motorists thrown from their vehicle usually don't survive the impact,

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and Mark's been lucky he wasn't crushed by the minibus.

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His head is bleeding badly, but that's not his most worrying symptom.

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He was unconscious for five minutes

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and can't remember anything about the accident.

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I've given him some morphine. We'll also give him a drug that...

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The morphine can make you feel a bit sick, so we'll give him a drug that actually takes that sickness off.

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Mark's badly hurt, but all he can think about is the other driver involved in the accident.

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-How is the other guy?

-The other guy?

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Erm...he's bruised and battered,

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but the trouble is he's stuck in the cab.

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Meanwhile, Lee has started to examine the driver of the car transporter.

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Although both vehicles were travelling at low speed,

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the fully-loaded transporter weighs nearly ten tonnes,

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and it's collided head-on with the garden wall.

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1,000 feet up, Helimed 98 is quickly bearing down on the village.

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Helimed 98, we're just approaching the scene from air.

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The crew will have the job of freeing the driver of the car transporter from his crushed cab.

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But there's increasing concern for minibus driver Mark.

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-It's a little bit sore.

-Where is it sore the most?

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-Just in my back.

-In your back?

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-Yeah.

-Right, okey dokey.

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We'll try not to drop you. OK, so we're going that way.

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At the roadside there's only so much Colin and Lee can do apart from monitor Mark's condition,

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and get him to hospital as fast as possible.

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Right, if we can lift it as high as we can.

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Don't actually put the weight on it until you're well and truly in.

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Mark's head and back injuries mean he gets the first Helimed seat,

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but the other driver won't have long to wait.

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This is only the second time Helimed 98 and Helimed 99

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have been sent to the same accident scene.

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Both drivers have received the top treatment the Ambulance Service can offer.

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Now they need the best hospital care the NHS can provide.

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Coming up, the battle to free the trapped driver begins.

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I'm going to get your left leg out.

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And then we're going to drop you that way, flat onto the passenger seat.

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A little boy takes a tumble, and the paramedics

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-are worried.

-CHILD CRIES

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Hold on! There you are, nanny got you.

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And the day a Satan's Slave became a good Samaritan.

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Dealing with a road accident is a pretty dangerous job,

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and that's why members of the emergency services

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make sure passing motorists see them by wearing one of these.

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But some roadside risks are less predictable, but just as deadly.

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Sometimes the Helimed team instinctively know their lifesaving skills are needed.

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A male has been trapped under a lorry.

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Imagine being dragged hundreds of yards down a hill under a two-tonne lorry.

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That's what happened to a car recovery driver

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on the outskirts of Otley, just a few miles from Helimed HQ.

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-He's just going to be over the hill here.

-OK.

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They may be close by, but that doesn't mean this job will be any easier to spot from the air.

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It's got to be down here somewhere, hasn't it?

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There's an ambulance behind us, Tim.

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-Yeah.

-Going uphill there.

-Yeah.

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The ambulance has stopped.

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Stopped on road there, mate.

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-Yeah, there's a responder there, as well.

-Ah.

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All pilot Tim has to do now is find a flat place to land

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and that's not going to be easy on the side of a hill.

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-This is not flat at all.

-No.

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This is a risky business.

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Helicopters can and do tip over on landing...

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Just pop your door, Pete, will you, see if that's...?

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That's looking good this side.

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..sometimes with fatal results.

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Down flat, yeah.

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Paramedic Pete Vallance has over 20 years' experience

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and knows he's about to face some serious injuries.

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Hi, gents.

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-How we doing? You're all right?

-The chap has got the...

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It's rolled back on to his knee, as you can see here.

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-He's rolled down the road a little bit.

-Right.

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-No pain anywhere else other than in his lower leg.

-Yeah.

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No loss of consciousness.

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We think the handbrake may not have been applied as sufficiently as it should have been.

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The wagon's begun

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rolling down the hill and he's attempted to jump in the cab,

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and in doing so has slipped under the vehicle,

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and has been dragged quite a way down the road by his legs.

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To Pete's surprise, his patient, Geoff,

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is sat up and chatting to medics,

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but his apparent calmness disguises the fact he's got a very serious leg injury

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and is still stuck underneath his breakdown truck.

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The main problem is his leg injury and it has been trapped under the vehicle.

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We've got to relieve his pain before we can extricate him. There are plenty of assets,

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so hopefully, it's not such a big job, but it's quite a nasty injury.

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Local fire crews are arriving in force to help the medics

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free Geoff's trapped leg. He's lost a lot of blood

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and his blood pressure is now dangerously low.

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Despite Geoff's capacity to cope with the pain and his relative calmness,

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paramedics Pete and Darren know that both the medical team and the fire crews must work quickly

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to free their patient before his condition deteriorates.

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We'll put the airbags underneath just to lift it up a touch, if we need to -

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just to give them a bit more space to actually move him out, you know what I mean?

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With the wheels chocked and airbags carefully positioned, the team begin to lift the recovery truck.

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-We're going to move your legs.

-All right.

-All right.

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Can we get two firefighters here just to give him a hand?

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We're going to pull him out on the slide bag.

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Just relax. If it hurts, tell us.

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-On three. One, two, three.

-That'll do.

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-Is that hurting?

-No, no.

-No, you're all right?

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At last he's free,

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and Darren and Pete can assess the full extent of his injuries.

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His leg's been crushed between the wheel and road.

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The bone is broken,

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and the muscles of his lower leg have been torn apart.

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Worst of all, his knee's been shattered.

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He's got quite a severe leg injury involving his knee,

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which is nearly sort of a third of the way round

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the circumference of the joint itself, which is exposed,

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also possibly fractured inside, so we need to be as careful as we can.

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Geoff runs his own breakdown firm and needs to be mobile.

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But his injury is so severe that Pete and Darren are unsure

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whether he'll ever be able to walk on his injured leg again.

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Geoff faces a long fight to regain the use of his leg.

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His livelihood depends on it.

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Coming up, the breakdown man is freed, but his crushed leg

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could still cost him his life.

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It's obviously just worn away at his leg.

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A second chopper races to help a trucker trapped in his cab.

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And the mates who saved a runner's life.

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The guys who are with him

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have been first-aid aware and got their friend back.

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When you have family living in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales,

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a stay with relatives can be just like a holiday,

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but there are dangers,

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especially for visitors more used to life in town.

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Helimed 99 is heading up into some of the North's most rugged landscapes.

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Towering more than 2,000 feet over the market town of Ingleton

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are Yorkshire's three peaks,

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Whernside, Ingleborough and the forbidding Pen-y-ghent,

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a huge slab of limestone that's a summer playground for outdoor enthusiasts,

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but in the valley below, playtime has gone badly wrong

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for a little boy staying with his gran.

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We've got a two-year-old child who's fallen off a wall,

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we believe he sustained a head injury

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and is in and out of consciousness.

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There is a land crew with the patient -

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they requested the air support unit.

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We're going to have a trip across there and see if we can help out with the crew.

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Radar, Helimed 99 Alpha.

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Ex-Army pilot JJ Smith has flown helicopters

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all over the world, from the forests of Norway

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to the mountains of Afghanistan, but these hills demand respect.

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They're notorious for sudden updraughts and unpredictable weather.

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Wha-hey! This could be bumpy.

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Paramedics Pat and Sammy know their job won't be easy today either.

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Treating children can't be taken lightly.

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Children can be quite hard to assess.

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Often they're upset anyway.

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You can't tell whether they're crying because they're upset

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or they're injured.

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They need to be able to tell you where they're hurting.

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Often we're dealing with two people -

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Mum or the relative, whoever was caring for them,

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is upset as well that the accident has happened.

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The market town of Ingleton has a local ambulance station,

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but the road journey from here

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to the nearest hospital in Lancashire, the next county,

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can be long and difficult.

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Two-year-old Bob is about to become one of the team's youngest ever patients.

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He's landed headfirst after falling off a six-foot garden wall while visiting his grandparents.

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Paramedics Sammy and Pat know it's critical that Bob gets to hospital quickly.

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Children can deteriorate very fast.

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But there's just enough time for Sammy to do some revision.

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We use this aide memoire. It's broken down into ages,

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so I've already looked up the two-year-old.

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It has their normal parameters, and then has all their drug dosages.

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It's an excellent guide,

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and in a moment of stress when you're trying to help a young child

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just to double-check your dosages is always a good idea.

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-I have visual at 12 o'clock.

-OK, check doors and harnesses, please.

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The stone cottages of the Dales provide few problems for pilot JJ Smith.

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They often come with large back gardens,

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and he can land the helicopter close to their young patient.

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-Hello, little Bob. How are you doing?

-He's very, very drowsy.

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-Yeah. Are you all right holding him in line there?

-Yeah.

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Great. Hello, Bob. Is this Mam?

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-Nan.

-Nan. Hiya, Nan.

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Bob's nan is upset, but hiding it.

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She'd only turned her back for a moment,

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and Bob had been warned not to leave the garden.

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Sammy must calm the two-year-old down to assess his injuries.

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BOB CRIES

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Can I just have a little listen of your tummy?

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Where is it? Is it underneath there? Thanks, Nan.

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Most parents will probably have joked that children bounce,

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but falls from this height can be fatal.

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Sammy's looking for any signs of a skull fracture, spinal injury

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or brain haemorrhage.

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Can I have a little feel of your tummy?

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Oh, is that tickling? There we go, then.

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-You have your spaceman mask to make you feel better.

-Oh, look at this!

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This will make you feel better.

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Treating children is a real skill for any paramedic.

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Drug doses have to be carefully calculated,

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and Bob's level of consciousness must be monitored closely

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to stop him falling asleep.

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-BOB CRIES

-All right, darling.

-That's it.

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There we go. All done.

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Most distressing of all,

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he must wear a hard collar until they know he hasn't broken his neck.

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BOB CRIES

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The Dales may be a beautiful and secluded place to live,

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but that also means that Bob's miles from the hospital treatment he desperately needs.

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Good boy.

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Are you going to come for a ride with me in my helicopter?

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BOB CRIES It's all right, I'm not going anywhere.

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It's all right, Nanny's coming.

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It's a frightening prospect for a two-year-old to face,

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but a flight in Helimed 99 might save Bob's life.

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We're going to get you in the aircraft now. Nanny's with you.

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Hello. It's me again!

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That's it.

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Nanny?

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Lancaster Hospital is just 10 minutes away by air,

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and Bob's grandma will be with him all the way.

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It's a... It's a great height for a two-year-old to fall,

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so we're just a little bit concerned about the child.

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We're just been erring on the side of precaution, really.

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Just half an hour ago, Bob was playing on the swings with his sister,

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now he's strapped tightly into a helicopter and 1,000 feet up.

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-Did he go blue around the lips at all?

-No, he didn't change.

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-Just very pale and very cold and...

-Clammy.

-Clammy.

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The windsock on the roof opposite you.

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-The helipad to the left.

-Yeah.

-OK, happy.

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Just a few minutes later,

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Lancaster Hospital, with two very worried parents inside,

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comes into view.

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OK, Nanny. We're down on the ground. We're just going to stop the blades,

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and then there will be a team, and we'll take Bob with us.

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OK. Yeah. One, two, three, lift.

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Bob's in an exclusive club.

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Very few toddlers have ever flown in Helimed 99,

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but everyone is more concerned about his condition.

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Only a brain scan and a thorough examination in A&E

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will determine whether Bob will make a full recovery.

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Bob, our two-year-old is now in resus and he doesn't look very well.

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He's laid there quite limp.

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I like it when kids are more upset and crying and clingy.

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It could mean that there's something quite serious going on,

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so they're carrying on the care.

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Sammy needn't have worried.

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Just a week later, and back home in Lancaster, Bob is back on his feet

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doing what two-year-olds do best, tiring out Mum.

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Not that she's complaining.

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Surviving a six-foot fall with no serious injury

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is better news than anyone could have expected.

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When I saw him on that stretcher, it was like this little tiny body,

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this great big stretcher... I cried.

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I cried a lot! SHE LAUGHS

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But as soon as he got out of that neck brace, that was it.

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He was back to himself. He was great.

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It was a good feeling. I want to cry with happiness now!

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And the next time Bob goes to spend a day in the Dales,

0:18:460:18:50

Gran's back garden definitely won't be his playground.

0:18:500:18:53

Coming up, a breakdown man may never walk again,

0:18:590:19:03

unless doctors can repair his knee.

0:19:030:19:05

I've lost part of my knee and the surrounding flesh.

0:19:050:19:09

And the day a first-aid class helped save a life.

0:19:100:19:13

Within two minutes of commencing CPR, he came round.

0:19:130:19:16

Now, let's return to the village in East Yorkshire,

0:19:200:19:23

where a major collision has left two drivers fighting for their lives.

0:19:230:19:28

In the centre of a small village in the Yorkshire Wolds, a head-on smash

0:19:280:19:33

between a minibus and a car transporter has sparked

0:19:330:19:35

a major emergency operation involving the Fire Brigade, police

0:19:350:19:40

and both helicopters from the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

0:19:400:19:43

In the impact, minibus driver Mark was thrown out of his seat and into the road.

0:19:450:19:50

He survived a situation that often proves fatal,

0:19:500:19:54

but he sustained head and back injuries.

0:19:540:19:57

We're coming in with a 40-year-old - that's four zero - male, GCS 15.

0:19:570:20:02

Head injuries and lower back pain, over.

0:20:020:20:06

As the crew of Helimed 99 prepare Mark for his emergency flight to hospital,

0:20:060:20:12

their colleagues from Helimed 98 arrive to help the driver of the car transporter.

0:20:120:20:18

I'll leave him with you. We're going to York, which I've said.

0:20:180:20:21

Ten tonnes take some stopping,

0:20:210:20:24

even at relatively low speeds, and the driver has only just avoided

0:20:240:20:29

a row of terraced houses, but the collision with the garden wall

0:20:290:20:32

has left him trapped under the dashboard.

0:20:320:20:35

You've got some pain in your tummy?

0:20:350:20:37

Is that above your belly button or below, would you say?

0:20:370:20:40

All around there.

0:20:420:20:43

All right, pal.

0:20:430:20:44

Paramedics Lee Gray and Paul Bradbury

0:20:440:20:47

often see lorry drivers in situations like this.

0:20:470:20:51

A frontal impact causes the steering wheel to pin the driver to his seat,

0:20:510:20:55

which can cause internal injuries to the stomach, liver and abdomen.

0:20:550:21:00

But Lee can't examine him properly, until he's out of his wrecked vehicle.

0:21:000:21:04

This gentleman will stay behind you and hold on to your neck

0:21:040:21:07

and we'll slide a board under your bottom.

0:21:070:21:09

We'll get your left leg out, and we'll drop you flat on to the passenger seat

0:21:090:21:13

-on to a board that we're going to pull you out from that way. Is that all right?

-Yeah.

-Good man.

0:21:130:21:18

No-one in the village of Home On Spalding Moor

0:21:180:21:21

can remember seeing a smash like this before.

0:21:210:21:24

In Helimed 99, the crew have stabilised Mark

0:21:240:21:27

and quickly leave the carnage behind.

0:21:270:21:29

He's stable. He's in quite a lot of pain in his lower back,

0:21:290:21:33

which would suggest

0:21:330:21:34

some sort of spinal injury.

0:21:340:21:37

And in just 15 minutes,

0:21:370:21:38

they'll be handing Mark over to the waiting doctors

0:21:380:21:42

at York District Hospital.

0:21:420:21:45

Back on the ground, Lee and Paul are still working out

0:21:450:21:47

how to remove the driver of the transporter.

0:21:470:21:50

Just keep nice and still.

0:21:500:21:52

No, I'm not going to touch that leg.

0:21:520:21:54

I just want to keep hold of your neck.

0:21:540:21:56

Whiplash is the most common injury sustained by drivers involved in car crashes.

0:21:560:22:00

You all right, firefighter up there,

0:22:000:22:02

keeping his neck? Because I'm going to look after this right tib and fib.

0:22:020:22:05

Lee and Paul know this driver's neck and spine could be badly damaged.

0:22:050:22:09

All right, nice and steady.

0:22:090:22:11

Let's just try and get this...

0:22:110:22:13

If you come around here, let me swap.

0:22:130:22:16

It's been a big day for East Yorkshire's emergency services

0:22:170:22:21

that help to cover nearly 1000 square miles,

0:22:210:22:24

and this is the last test that they'll face.

0:22:240:22:26

With Paul directing inside the cab, and with a little careful manoeuvring from the Fire Brigade,

0:22:260:22:32

the driver has moved into a position

0:22:320:22:34

where the team can immobilise his neck and back.

0:22:340:22:37

Just watch him back all the way, lads.

0:22:370:22:41

Professional drivers spend more time on the road than anybody else,

0:22:410:22:44

but this driver must be feeling more relieved than ever

0:22:440:22:47

to get out of his cab.

0:22:470:22:49

He's had the full dose of morphine, but he's still in pain.

0:22:490:22:53

Open your eyes for me nice and wide.

0:22:530:22:55

Good man. And take a nice deep breath now we've got you out.

0:22:550:22:58

Good, deep breath in, and out.

0:22:580:23:00

Good man. No new pain anywhere? How is that pain in your belly?

0:23:000:23:03

Is it all right? Or getting better or worse, eh?

0:23:030:23:07

-The same.

-Just the same. Good man.

0:23:070:23:09

I'll keep tormenting you until you talk to me, all right?

0:23:090:23:12

While Mark in Helimed 99 is landing at York District Hospital,

0:23:140:23:18

and only minutes away from receiving life-saving hospital treatment,

0:23:180:23:22

the driver of the car transporter is still over 20 miles away.

0:23:220:23:26

Coming up, hospital doctors prepare to treat

0:23:320:23:36

two casualties from the same crash.

0:23:360:23:39

It's nice we can get together, but not always nice for the patients.

0:23:390:23:42

And the walkers who were well-prepared for an accident

0:23:420:23:46

down to six layers of bandage.

0:23:460:23:48

When you're self-employed, you rely on being fit enough to do your job,

0:23:520:23:57

but what happens when a small businessman can't walk?

0:23:570:24:01

In West Yorkshire, the owner of a recovery business

0:24:010:24:03

finds himself in that terrible position.

0:24:030:24:07

On a road outside the town of Otley in West Yorkshire,

0:24:090:24:11

breakdown recovery driver Geoff

0:24:110:24:14

has been dragged down a steep hill underneath his truck.

0:24:140:24:18

Fire crews have managed to lift the truck, allowing Helimed 99

0:24:180:24:21

paramedics Pete Vallance and Darren Axe to free Geoff's injured leg and assess the damage.

0:24:210:24:28

It's not good news.

0:24:280:24:30

He's got quite a severe leg injury to his right leg involving the knee.

0:24:300:24:35

It's worn down to the bone

0:24:350:24:39

for at least one third of the circumference,

0:24:390:24:42

and possibly fractured as well underneath.

0:24:420:24:45

Pete and Darren know the chances of Geoff making a full recovery are slim.

0:24:450:24:49

His leg has been crushed and is badly broken,

0:24:490:24:52

but if he's to stand any chance of walking on the injured leg again,

0:24:520:24:55

the team must get him to the expert team of orthopaedic surgeons

0:24:550:24:59

at the Leeds General Infirmary.

0:24:590:25:01

-How is my leg?

-You've made a mess of it...

-We're looking after you.

0:25:010:25:05

-..because you've dragged it.

-Have I?

0:25:050:25:07

Yeah, it's dragged it down road, so...

0:25:070:25:09

You're going to the right place anyway, all right?

0:25:090:25:12

Despite the slope, pilot Tim managed to land next to the incident,

0:25:120:25:16

but this is a graphic example of the dangers the crew face on a daily basis.

0:25:160:25:20

When the blades are spinning,

0:25:200:25:22

you can't really see, but now they've shut down,

0:25:220:25:24

you can appreciate how low they get,

0:25:240:25:26

so it makes it very dangerous operating here.

0:25:260:25:29

Fortunately, taking off from a makeshift helipad

0:25:300:25:33

on the side of a hill is a lot easier than landing on one.

0:25:330:25:37

Leeds Tower, Helimed 98 Alpha.

0:25:370:25:39

VOICE OVER RADIO

0:25:390:25:41

Both Darren and Pete know their patient has been lucky to survive

0:25:450:25:48

being dragged underneath a two-tonne truck,

0:25:480:25:50

but his leg injury is one of the most serious they've ever seen,

0:25:500:25:55

and the hard work's not over for Darren.

0:25:550:25:57

He's got to help pilot Tim

0:25:570:25:59

navigate the huge cranes scattered across the centre of Leeds.

0:25:590:26:03

Mate, with got that big red crane there.

0:26:030:26:06

-Yeah, visual.

-OK.

0:26:060:26:08

There's a couple of new white ones which are in and around it as well.

0:26:080:26:12

The team land on the roof of the LGI just in time

0:26:170:26:20

as Geoff's huge pain threshold begins to reduce.

0:26:200:26:23

Are you all right, Geoff?

0:26:230:26:25

The pain's getting a bit strong.

0:26:250:26:26

Is it? We'll get you some pain relief when we get down.

0:26:260:26:29

I'm not going to give you any at this moment, but we'll give you some as soon as we get down.

0:26:290:26:34

Geoff's journey from roadside to resus is almost over.

0:26:340:26:39

-It's just, like, stinging. You know, stinging and throbbing.

-Is it?

-Yeah.

0:26:390:26:44

A team of doctors, nurses and orthopaedic surgeons

0:26:450:26:48

have been waiting for the Helimed team and their patient.

0:26:480:26:51

Geoff now faces a series of tests,

0:26:510:26:53

and an agonising wait to discover the full extent of his injury.

0:26:530:26:58

It's a really, really nasty leg injury.

0:26:580:27:01

This guy's been dragged underneath

0:27:010:27:03

at least three tonnes of wagon for a substantial distance,

0:27:030:27:07

and it's obviously just...

0:27:070:27:09

worn away at his leg, because that's the part that was trapped underneath.

0:27:090:27:13

It will be an overall examination with lots of different departments being involved.

0:27:150:27:20

They'll obviously get imaging and X-rays of this.

0:27:200:27:23

I would probably estimate that he'll be on his way to surgery

0:27:230:27:28

at some point shortly.

0:27:280:27:31

This is what Geoff faces for at least the next 12 months -

0:27:310:27:36

regular visits to the dressings clinic and intensive rehabilitation.

0:27:360:27:41

I lost part of my knee,

0:27:410:27:42

the surrounding flesh, skin.

0:27:420:27:46

And they've took the calf muscle out and rebuilt my knee with it,

0:27:460:27:50

took a skin graft from that leg to cover that one.

0:27:500:27:53

The injury was so serious,

0:27:530:27:55

doctors had to completely rebuild Geoff's knee,

0:27:550:27:58

one of the most complicated parts of the body.

0:27:580:28:00

It's two weeks since the accident, and the long road to recovery

0:28:000:28:04

has started, both physically and emotionally.

0:28:040:28:09

I knew I'd hurt my leg, but not to this extent, no.

0:28:090:28:13

I reversed the vehicle into the back of my truck

0:28:130:28:16

and my truck just start rolling slowly.

0:28:160:28:19

So I opened the car door, jumped out on to the road,

0:28:190:28:22

but the car door hit me on my back and knocked me to the floor.

0:28:220:28:25

And then my leg went under the back of the truck,

0:28:250:28:28

and it just dragged me. I was dragged. I just...

0:28:280:28:31

It took me for about 100, 200 yards down the hill

0:28:310:28:34

until some public stopped the vehicle.

0:28:340:28:36

I've family and friends working and driving for me,

0:28:360:28:39

so all that's sorted now.

0:28:390:28:41

It's just trying to get some sleep now at night. I've not slept for two and a bit weeks.

0:28:410:28:46

Try and get things out of my mind that are going through it.

0:28:460:28:49

Just... Just time now. We'll see.

0:28:490:28:51

Coming up, doctors begin treating two victims of a major road crash.

0:28:580:29:02

How would you react if someone had a serious accident or a heart attack

0:29:070:29:11

and you were the only one there to help?

0:29:110:29:13

Every day a few of us find out and what we do often means the difference between life and death.

0:29:130:29:21

Sheffield has a population of over a million and a reputation as a massive industrial city.

0:29:230:29:30

But the city centre is surrounded by hillsides and countryside

0:29:300:29:33

and Sheffield has more trees per person than any other European city.

0:29:330:29:39

Helimed 98 is on its way to the South Yorkshire Forest

0:29:390:29:43

to an injured mountain biker caught out by a terrifying steep hill.

0:29:430:29:47

There is somebody down near the track.

0:29:490:29:52

-Yeah.

-That looks like it, mate. Yeah.

0:29:520:29:56

Wharnecliffe Woods are some of the most technically difficult downhill bike tracks around.

0:29:560:30:01

Hardcore rides for experienced bikers.

0:30:010:30:04

And David Clark has taken on too much.

0:30:040:30:07

He's not a very experienced mountain biker, but we're here for the weekend just having some fun and we

0:30:070:30:13

probably chosen a trail that's a bit too serious. He didn't have a bike with any suspension and...

0:30:130:30:17

But he's a bit nuts and so he just threw himself down it.

0:30:170:30:20

But, yeah, he's come off and he's gone over his ankle

0:30:200:30:22

and the bikes come after it and he's just gone straight over...

0:30:220:30:24

Straight over his ankle.

0:30:240:30:25

There's nowhere for Helimed 98 to land near to the mountain biker,

0:30:250:30:29

so pilot Craig Redmon has to put the chopper down at the edge of the forest.

0:30:290:30:36

OK, you're securely down right rear now. Securely down.

0:30:360:30:41

But it's a long way to the patient in the middle of the woods, so paramedics Paul Bradbury

0:30:410:30:45

and Lee Gray grab a lift from a local with a handy four wheel-drive.

0:30:450:30:51

I understand why you haven't got a Ford Fiesta now round here.

0:30:550:30:59

I don't think it would do it, would it? Oh, no.

0:30:590:31:01

Their driver, Greg Hughes, knows all these tracks.

0:31:020:31:05

It turns out he lives in the forest.

0:31:050:31:09

I just sort of live here and the ambulance just came and we just...

0:31:090:31:13

We do this. We pick up old ladies that we find wandering in the woods.

0:31:130:31:17

Dave's rescuer is a member of the Satan's Slaves biker gang.

0:31:170:31:22

He may look unconventional, but it turns out he and his biker mates are

0:31:220:31:25

big Air Ambulance supporters.

0:31:250:31:28

It's the first time I've seen it in action. Well worth it.

0:31:280:31:32

-Hiya, mate. All right?

-How are you doing, all right?

0:31:320:31:35

I came down the slope,

0:31:350:31:36

went over the bars a bit...

0:31:380:31:41

The handlebars kind of...

0:31:410:31:43

I thought I was going to be fine, but then the bike got caught up with my leg.

0:31:430:31:46

-All right, so yeah...

-One, just on his shoulder.

0:31:460:31:49

Dave's nearly a mile from the helicopter.

0:31:490:31:52

I wish it were a bit steeper!

0:31:520:31:55

And he'd be surprised by the unsung hero who's about to give him a lift, if it wasn't for the gas and air.

0:31:550:32:01

Yeah, it's OK. They've all been very good, haven't you?

0:32:010:32:04

-Yeah.

-Don't make me say it.

0:32:040:32:06

The pain relief is being provided by 50% oxygen, 50% laughing gas.

0:32:060:32:13

Is it time for my close up?

0:32:140:32:16

And the laughing gas bit has been particularly effective.

0:32:160:32:19

If you've a preferred route, please notify the driver at the start of the journey.

0:32:210:32:26

Who's stuck that up there?

0:32:260:32:29

Yeah.

0:32:290:32:32

Bit of a trek, yeah. I think we crossed every type of terrain going, there.

0:32:320:32:36

Thanks to this young man over here, I don't know if I've ever been down a steeper hill in a car.

0:32:360:32:41

He's, thankfully, not got too serious an injury, so he's

0:32:410:32:45

quite comfortable and the laughing gas has obviously taken effect quite well in between screams.

0:32:450:32:50

To me, to you.

0:32:500:32:52

So, with a final thank you to his unsung hero, Glenn...

0:32:520:32:56

Thanks, mate.

0:32:560:32:58

Dave is off to hospital and a repair job on his smashed-up ankle.

0:32:580:33:03

Fell running is very popular.

0:33:070:33:09

Every weekend, hundreds of superfit take to the Yorkshire Fells.

0:33:090:33:14

They run up the peaks and down again and, looking at the views, I can see the attraction, but if you're in the

0:33:140:33:20

middle of nowhere and you suffer a heart attack, you'd better hope your running mates know what to do.

0:33:200:33:27

With just a few details on a screen to go on, the Helimed crew are going to answer this emergency call.

0:33:270:33:33

Everything indicates it's serious.

0:33:330:33:35

A fell runner has had a heart attack.

0:33:350:33:39

The location is so close to the airport, pilot Tim has to constantly check in.

0:33:410:33:45

He's bang in the middle of the flight path for incoming jets.

0:33:450:33:49

Leeds Tower, Helimed 98 Alpha. We're still airborne about five miles west of the field.

0:33:510:33:56

Still looking for the patient.

0:33:560:33:58

'Helimed 98 Alpha, that's no problem.'

0:33:590:34:02

As they leave the urban sprawl of Leeds, the landscape very quickly opens up.

0:34:020:34:07

It's a hot day and these are steep hills.

0:34:070:34:11

That's that reservoir there, look.

0:34:110:34:13

The one on the right is that one there. So, we're left of it, so it's right over where we are.

0:34:130:34:18

But no matter how fit you are, a heart attack can hit you at any time.

0:34:180:34:21

98, Air Desk, we've found it, over.

0:34:230:34:25

Super fit 64-year-old Bill Padgett was 11 miles into his run when he collapsed.

0:34:250:34:32

A local land ambulance paramedic got there first.

0:34:320:34:36

It's become clear that Bill's running buddies have saved his life.

0:34:360:34:41

People that were running with him did say that they actually

0:34:410:34:44

had performed CPR on the gentleman, that he did go blue, that he had

0:34:440:34:47

stopped breathing and he didn't have a pulse.

0:34:470:34:49

Within two minutes of commencing CPR, he came back round.

0:34:490:34:52

Knowing what to do in a crisis like this is the key.

0:34:520:34:56

They call it effective CPR, chest compression to keep someone alive

0:34:560:35:01

until paramedics with life-saving drugs and more sophisticated equipment can take over.

0:35:010:35:06

And that's exactly what these guys, members of the Bingley Harriers Running Club, have done.

0:35:060:35:12

What has happened is they've got...

0:35:120:35:13

The guys who were with him have been first aid aware, realised what's

0:35:130:35:17

happened, got early intervention with the chest compressions, some mouth to mouth and have got their friend back.

0:35:170:35:23

And at the moment he's currently...

0:35:230:35:26

He's obviously critical because of what's happened, but he's stable,

0:35:260:35:29

so we're going to fly him to LGI which is a couple of minutes away.

0:35:290:35:33

Bill owes his life to his mates and he'll soon get the chance to say thanks.

0:35:340:35:39

Within a few days he was out of Leeds General Infirmary and is now even planning to resume running.

0:35:390:35:44

Now, the Air Ambulance has some of the most sophisticated navigational gear going, but very occasionally

0:35:460:35:53

the Helimed team need a bit of extra help to find their patient, especially in a place like this.

0:35:530:36:00

Are you actually on a path between the Scar House Reservoir and Niddersmore?

0:36:000:36:06

Right, OK.

0:36:060:36:08

Nidderdale Way?

0:36:080:36:10

I've got a feeling it's up here somewhere.

0:36:100:36:13

Scar House Reservoir is a remote beauty spot in Nidderdale that keeps

0:36:130:36:18

the taps of Bradford running, but today it's the scene of an accident involving a rambler.

0:36:180:36:23

Helimed 99's job is to find her, but that's more easily said than done.

0:36:230:36:29

We're on the Nidderdale Way. We're running down to the other side, yeah.

0:36:290:36:33

Having someone resourceful with you when you have an accident

0:36:340:36:37

can save your life and that's what's happened today.

0:36:370:36:39

Paramedic Daz uses the satellite phone to ring the rambler who first dialled 999.

0:36:390:36:46

And the Helimed team get a talk down that wouldn't disgrace Air Traffic Control.

0:36:460:36:50

Helimed 99 Alpha is about to let down.

0:36:500:36:54

If you want me to knock it down, I will!

0:36:540:36:56

-Hi, sweetheart.

-Hello.

0:36:580:36:59

How are you doing, not so good?

0:36:590:37:01

Brenda Lofthouse fell over on the path.

0:37:010:37:04

She crashed forward and banged her head.

0:37:040:37:07

It's so easily done, this sort of thing

0:37:070:37:10

and you feel such a fool bringing out ambulances and things like that, but the gash was such that we felt that

0:37:100:37:16

after about six layers of bandage and the blood still coming through you get a bit nervous, sort of thing.

0:37:160:37:21

With that in mind

0:37:210:37:23

we fortunately got an Air Ambulance and here we are.

0:37:230:37:26

And it turns out husband Dave is the hero of the hour,

0:37:260:37:31

along with some vintage mobile technology.

0:37:310:37:33

Right, youths they would laugh their cotton socks off at that, but I'm pleased I had that today.

0:37:330:37:38

Quite amazing. Absolutely amazing.

0:37:380:37:41

Brenda's friends and some passing mountain bikers have done all the hard work on this job.

0:37:410:37:46

They've stemmed the blood from the head injury and bandaged Brenda's wounds.

0:37:460:37:50

Now the wall, designed to keep sheep in and helicopters out.

0:37:500:37:55

-Right, this is going to be fun.

-Aye.

0:37:550:37:58

While Brenda's husband takes the long road home...

0:37:580:38:00

She'll get concerned, but she's tough.

0:38:000:38:02

I think the expression is a 'tough old bird'.

0:38:020:38:05

Her walking friend Jean is getting a lift with the helicopter.

0:38:050:38:10

Now I'm up here, I know why you didn't see us,

0:38:100:38:12

but when you're down there you think, hey, come on, we're waving,

0:38:120:38:17

you can see us.

0:38:170:38:18

And is making the most of her once in a lifetime flight.

0:38:180:38:22

Tell me, are we be going over Hangthwaite at any time or not?

0:38:220:38:26

Yes.

0:38:260:38:28

Yes, probably in about the next minute.

0:38:280:38:30

Well, tell me will you, please, because my mum and dad live there?

0:38:300:38:34

Just wave at them, they'll know.

0:38:340:38:37

The trip to Harrogate takes only minutes at 150 miles an hour and

0:38:370:38:42

in a straight line, and Brenda is on her way to A&E to have some stitches and some headache tablets.

0:38:420:38:50

Will you catch me when I'm looking better next time?

0:38:500:38:54

And thanks to those unsung heroes, all our patients are on the mend.

0:38:540:38:59

Now, let's catch up with the road smash so serious, all the available choppers were scrambled.

0:38:590:39:05

The residents of Holme On Spalding Moor in East Yorkshire are still in shock after a head-on crash

0:39:050:39:12

in the centre of the village and a rescue operation involving both Yorkshire Air Ambulance helicopters.

0:39:120:39:17

Thanks to Helimed 99 the minibus driver, Mark Morris,

0:39:170:39:21

is being handed over to the doctors at York District Hospital,

0:39:210:39:24

but back at the scene of the accident, the crew of Helimed 98

0:39:240:39:27

are preparing the driver of the car transporter for his emergency flight to hospital.

0:39:270:39:32

Roger, Chris, will be taking off in the next two minutes, over.

0:39:320:39:35

And there's increasing concern about his condition.

0:39:350:39:38

It could be potentially serious injuries that he's got

0:39:380:39:40

given the force that he's hit the wall with.

0:39:400:39:43

Road accidents cost the country £16 billion a year.

0:39:430:39:48

Helimed 98 is leaving this clean-up operation behind and heading for York.

0:39:480:39:52

We've just carried on his pain relief, which is the

0:39:520:39:55

biggest thing at the moment, just to keep his heart rate nice and low.

0:39:550:39:59

Mediaeval York attracts nearly four million tourists a year and is one

0:39:590:40:04

of the most congested cities in the country, but when you're dropping in from 500 feet, that's not a problem.

0:40:040:40:10

Colin's gone with our patient with the first ambulance crew, and the second one is just unloading now.

0:40:100:40:16

Where we were, up there, it would be a good 40 minutes, 45 minutes

0:40:160:40:20

for a crew to run into York District,

0:40:200:40:22

which it's taken us about six minutes to come from there, so it's obviously very quick.

0:40:220:40:26

It's nice we can both get together, but not always nice for the patients.

0:40:260:40:30

Despite his condition worrying the Helimed team, the driver of the car transporter escaped

0:40:300:40:36

without any serious injuries, but minibus driver Mark wasn't so lucky.

0:40:360:40:41

I broke a bone in the bottom of my back.

0:40:410:40:44

I had stitches inserted in my head,

0:40:440:40:46

in my hand and I bruised all my lung.

0:40:460:40:49

So, I feel pretty lucky, actually.

0:40:500:40:53

The doctors and nurses say it was actually the seatbelt that saved my life.

0:40:530:40:58

Although Mark was wearing a seatbelt, passers-by found him lying on the floor next to the minibus.

0:40:580:41:04

It's estimated nearly a quarter of all fatal car

0:41:040:41:06

crashes involve someone being thrown from the vehicle and Mark knows he's beaten the odds.

0:41:060:41:12

I remember seeing it coming towards me and it just seemed to be slow motion, just waiting for the impact.

0:41:120:41:19

I do feel pretty lucky to be alive.

0:41:190:41:22

-How is the other guy?

-The other guy?

0:41:220:41:24

Despite lying injured and in pain on the ground, Mark only had one thing on his mind.

0:41:240:41:30

I remember asking the police officer, anyone else involved?

0:41:300:41:33

And he said, yeah, the other driver, he's trapped in the cab.

0:41:330:41:36

And I kept thinking, I hope he's OK.

0:41:360:41:39

And he's got a new found respect for his flying rescuers.

0:41:390:41:43

I think they've done an amazing job.

0:41:430:41:44

They put their lives on the line, as well.

0:41:440:41:47

They go into difficult situations,

0:41:470:41:50

so I think they deserve a lot of credit.

0:41:500:41:53

When Helicopter Heroes comes back,

0:41:550:41:57

a child's knocked down in an army town and Helimed 99 swoops to the rescue.

0:41:570:42:02

'You must not go any further left.'

0:42:020:42:04

A 120-mile mercy mission is a dying transplant patient's only hope of survival.

0:42:040:42:11

I've got a good feeling about this one.

0:42:120:42:15

The team are called to a Scout camp after an accident on a rope swing.

0:42:150:42:19

And an off duty paramedic becomes the hero of a nasty bike accident.

0:42:190:42:24

I knew something had happened, so I just stopped to see what was going on.

0:42:240:42:28

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:42:400:42:43

Rav Wilding looks at the work of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. A boy has a nasty fall while visiting his gran, a village is brought to a standstill by a multiple pile-up, and an unsung hero helps out the paramedics.


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