Episode 16 Helicopter Heroes


Episode 16

Series following the work of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. Pilot Steve lands in the middle of an army camp and darkness threatens to ground a transplant patient's lifesaving flight.


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Transcript


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If you're critically ill or 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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Wherever you are, this helicopter with a team of 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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'On Helicopter Heroes, a child's knocked down in an army town.

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'Helimed 99 swoops to the rescue.'

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You must not go any further left.

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

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

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

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I just stopped to see what was going on.

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This is Catterick, the biggest garrison town in the British army.

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When I was a soldier I used to live here.

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It's used to getting bad news, often from Iraq or Afghanistan.

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But one day, a terrible accident here

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shocked the whole town.

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'Most of the 10,000 soldiers based here have combat medical skills,

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'to save lives on the battlefield.

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'But this afternoon, that knowledge is used on a ten-year-old boy

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'knocked down on his way home from school.

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'Two off-duty soldiers are working on Nial Ryan. He's badly hurt.

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'Now, Helimed 99 is on the case.'

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We're going to divert and go up to Catterick,

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see if we can get him on board and get him up to James Cook.

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We'll be about... Ten minutes, we'll be there.

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'The crew's updated by the ambulance control room. The news isn't good.

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'Nial has a broken leg, but that could be the most obvious injury.

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'Head injuries, internal bleeding and spinal damage

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'are all possibilities that the paramedics need to think about.'

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With open fractures, they're prone to infection.

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The last thing that you want is any infections getting into that area,

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where the bone is coming through.

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All of us in the ambulance service

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find it difficult dealing with children and trauma.

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We've got kids of our own.

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You only have to see the distressed family.

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Down and left, at the crossroads.

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Can you see the roadblock?

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You've got a school. That's looking to be adjacent.

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'With the barracks 500 feet below, the team spot a big problem.

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'Nial's in the main road through the town. There's nowhere to land.'

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Can you not drop me in this army compound directly...?

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But there's a big fence up.

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But there's a guard room where them yellow bollards are.

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They'll just let me through.

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'Security is tight at one of Europe's largest army bases.

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'Every landing site seems to be surrounded by barbed wire and locked gates.'

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Not happy about landing in MoD property.

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Well, if you don't, mate. Don't.

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-What about...?

-I'm committed now, mate.

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Still clear right.

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'Pilot Steve Cobb has no choice but to land in the compound

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'used to store vehicles for Catterick's three military brigades.

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'As feared, the compound is protected by a ten-foot high fence.

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'Although a few squaddies have come to help, no-one's got a key.'

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-I don't think I'd have looked too gracious!

-No.

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'Having a head for heights comes with the job for Lee.

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'But he's rarely had to overcome an obstacle this high.

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'Lee won't thank me for saying this, but he's a granddad.

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'This is no easy climb, but with no other suitable landing site,

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'he has no choice but to scale the fence.

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'Paramedics and an off-duty doctor have been treating Nial.

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'They're so concerned about him, they've prepared him for a flight in Helimed 99.'

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The doctor from the Great North Air Ambulance is here on scene.

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They're packaging him now and we're going to fly him to James Cook.

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'But with the helicopter still stuck behind the locked fence,

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'the team won't be able to help their young patient

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'unless Lee can find somewhere for Helimed 99 to land.'

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'Coming up, Steve must get as close to Nial as possible,

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'but that means touching down in the centre of town.

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'Camp's over for a Scout who fell off a rope swing.

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'And the off-duty paramedic who found himself a patient, thanks to the wildlife.'

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Possibly a deer!

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The Helimed team fight the clock.

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Saving time helps them save lives,

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but there's one race they can't win.

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This helicopter is not equipped to fly in the dark. When the sun sets, it must be on the ground.

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Your sunset time is one minute to seven...

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'At Helimed HQ,

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'the crew are coordinating an emergency operation that none of them have dealt with before.'

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A transfer from Sheffield to Newcastle.

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We're doing the calculations -

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the flying times, re-fuel times, the loading of the patient.

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We'll run out of daylight to get back on the ground.

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'In South Yorkshire, a woman is in desperate need of a lung transplant.

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'Only Helimed 98 can save her life,

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'but time isn't on her side.'

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Hello, it's Dave on the air desk...

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'The problem is the donor lung is in Newcastle.

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'The patient is 120 miles away in South Yorkshire.'

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Because of sunset times, we haven't got enough time to get to Newcastle.

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Potentially leaving Sheffield airport 6 o'clock.

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You've an hour and a half.

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Where can we get in 45 minutes from Sheffield airport?

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'The patient's on her way to the airport,

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'where Helimed 98 will begin a relay race north.

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'The flying paramedics are used to doing things in a hurry.

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'Today, they've got to get to their patient as fast as they can.

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'In fading light, the first leg is Leeds to Sheffield.

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'That's 12 minutes in Helimed 98.'

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We're trying to cut corners off

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so we can get the patient up to hospital.

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'Even at 1,000 feet up and 150 miles an hour,

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'the planning process doesn't stop.'

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So where can we be in 40 minutes?

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-Ripon.

-Yeah.

-Yeah, it's going to be Ripon.

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'It's not just the setting sun that's forcing the pace.'

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The organ will be taken out of the deceased.

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You've got limited time when you can put the organ into the recipient.

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'Lung transplants were first carried out over 20 years ago.

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'Today, more patients survive for longer after receiving new lungs.'

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Stretcher!

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'Their patient is Diane Wakefield.

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'She's been waiting for 18 months for this day.'

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We're going to get you comfortable.

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As soon as they finish refuelling we can be off.

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She thought it wasn't long before she couldn't have the transplant

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and she might not have long to live.

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'Diane's had nine false alarms,

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'where the donor organ has not been compatible.

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'Finally, doctors at the Freeman Hospital 70 miles away in Newcastle,

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'think they've found her some new lungs.'

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Just lay your head back.

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'As Diane's lungs are not working properly,

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'she needs a constant supply of oxygen to help her breathe.

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'As paramedics Paul and Pete load her in Helimed 98,

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'her oxygen supply stops working.'

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For some reason...

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'Helimed 98 has its own built-in supply of oxygen.'

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I'm panicking.

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'If they don't reattach it soon, Diane will stop breathing.'

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-RUSH OF AIR

-There we go.

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'They've done it. Diane is ready for take-off.'

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The emotions are strange, thinking she's going to have a transplant.

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'"Am I going to be here tomorrow?"'

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'Any transplant operation carries huge risks and there's no guarantee surgery will work.

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'With darkness descending,

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'all the team can do is give the doctors the best chance

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'of giving Diane a quality of life

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'that she's only been able to dream about.

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'Coming up, Diane's airborne,

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'but will Helimed 98 win its relay race with the setting sun?

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'Paramedic Lee marshals Steve into a town-centre touchdown.'

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You must not go further left.

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'And passers-by make sure a crash that injured a motorist

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'doesn't also hurt his wallet.'

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There's cash everywhere!

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For many teenagers, Scout camp is the highlight of summer,

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but getting some fresh air and adventure can also be risky

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when there's a rope swing around.

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'Helimed 99 has been scrambled to Scammonden reservoir,

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'a manmade lake in the Pennines.

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'Thanks to the speed of the M62,

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'this is a popular area for adventure courses.

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'A Scout on camp has fallen from a rope swing.

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'He could have serious injuries.'

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A ten-year-old boy has fallen off a swing.

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A queried fractured arm and a leg injury.

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'It may be next to the M62, but no land ambulance could make it here.'

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-We've got some people down here.

-Could be them.

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Looks like there's somebody lying down.

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'Pilot Steve is forced to land with a steep slope on one side.

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-'There's no room for error.'

-You're quite close.

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'They're feet from the water's edge but they make it down safely.

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'What started as a bit of fun,

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'has ended in agony for ten-year-old James.

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'He's been lying on the floor for an hour. Everyone's worried.'

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-Does that hurt there? Down here?

-No.

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'We're a Cub Scout group.'

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We've come up for an adventures week. Came across the rope swing.

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Unfortunately, James let go while he was swinging.

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'There's no time to waste.

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'Paramedics decide to get James to hospital as soon as they can.'

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'The main problems are logistical. We're down at the bottom there.'

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Difficult access for the land crew. So we just package him best we can.

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He's doing quite well. He's in a bit of discomfort but not too bad.

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We want to get him off the hillside, somewhere warm.

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'James's mum has arrived.

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'She's well aware of what an awkward place this is - especially with the wrong footwear.'

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I drove with an orienteering map.

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I thought I was going to end up in Rochdale but I saw Church Lane.

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I thought, "I'm here!" But had to run down here in my high heels!

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'The paramedics know that children aren't as good as adults detailing their symptoms.

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'Until he's been to hospital, James has to wear a rigid collar.

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'But another item of the team's kit will make him more comfortable.

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'He's been lying in the cold.

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'Thanks to a thermal cocoon they call the pizza bag, he's beginning to warm up.'

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FEMALE: You're doing well, James.

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'It's the second time James has been airborne today.

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'This flight will last longer, but not much.

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'In three minutes, he's on his way to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary,

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'where he was found to have no major injuries and was back at Scout camp the following day.

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'Coming up, surgeons race to get organs to the operating theatre.

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'Will their patient make it?'

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Fingers crossed, Diane.

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'The couple on a break from the fire brigade

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'went to work on their camping holiday.'

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We're used to dealing with emergency services.

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When a ten-year-old was knocked down in this street,

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some off-duty soldiers used combat medical skills to save his life.

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Until their patient's in surgery, he's not out of danger.

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'In one of Europe's largest army barracks at Catterick Garrison,

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'ten-year-old Nial was hit by a car and sustained serious injuries.

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'The accident happened right in the centre of town.

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'With nowhere to land, Helimed 99 is behind a locked gate,

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'in a secure army compound.

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'Nial needs to be in hospital but his flight won't happen

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'unless paramedic Lee can find somewhere for pilot Steve to land near the scene.'

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Ten-year-old male with an open fractured right tib and fib.

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He's also got a fractured dislocated right shoulder.

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'As well as being a paramedic, Lee is a trained helicopter pilot.

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'He knows exactly what size site is safe for Steve to land on.'

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You're clear to reposition the aircraft onto the crossroads.

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'Lee doesn't have much choice.

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'Town centres aren't designed for a three-ton helicopter.

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'Lee thinks a crossroads 100 yards from Nial is big enough.'

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Watch that traffic mate, there, will you for me?

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'The police have closed the road

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'but there are buildings, traffic lights and road signs yards from where Steve will try to land.

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'Dozens of schoolchildren have come out to watch the dramatic events.

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'Private pilots are not allowed to land here.

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'Few would want to. It's too dangerous.

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'But Steve has over 5,000 hours' flying time and is vastly experienced.'

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-Big lamppost here.

-You've got that one on the left.

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The only visual I've got now is the left one.

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'With traffic lights and lampposts metres from rotorblades spinning 400 times a minute,

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'Steve must precisely manoeuvre the helicopter towards the crossroads, with help from Lee.'

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Traffic still holding.

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You look a little bit low to me but I can't confirm, Steve.

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I have no visual. You must not go any further left.

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You're clear of the lamppost, clear of the tree.

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'They've done it.'

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Brilliant, Steve. Super.

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Well done, you.

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'Lee and fellow paramedic Lee Gray

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'must now change from aviators to medics,

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'and begin preparing Nial for his flight to hospital.'

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We're packaging him now and we'll fly him to James Cook.

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That's quite a tight landing - trees, lampposts, telegraph wires,

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traffic lights and children.

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Fortunately, the police secured the scene and Lee guided me in.

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Couldn't have got much tighter.

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Block that corner for me.

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'Nial has lived in Catterick Garrison all his life.

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'His dad is an ex-soldier and mum Fran an army nurse.'

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-Hi, Lee.

-Feet first, guys, if you can.

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'Ground medics and an off-duty doctor have stabilised Nial.

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'He's definitely broken some bones

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'but the team's worried he might have suffered internal injuries.

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'Over 10,000 children are killed or injured on our roads every year.

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'Nial's mum has been campaigning for safety improvements to this road.

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'Just last week, another youngster was hit by a bus nearby.'

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GROANING Nial, I'm here!

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All right, Mum. Do you want to come up?

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'The Helimed team rarely let young patients fly on their own. Children need a parent's reassurance.

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'This flight won't faze mum Fran.

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'She's flown in helicopters in the past.'

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I know it's painful but we're going up in a second, off to the hospital.

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'Steve's done really well landing.'

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We want to get the child away as soon as we possibly can.

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It's got to be safe for Steve to take off.

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'Word has spread and there's a big crowd to watch Helimed 99 depart.

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'Taking off is the most dangerous part of any flight.

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'In a site littered with obstacles,

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'a mechanical fault at this stage could be disastrous.

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'Coming up, doctors operate, but can they save Nial's shattered leg?

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'And husband-and-wife bikers find themselves treated side-by-side.'

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Let's catch up on the race to save transplant patient Diane Wakefield

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on her tenth trip to hospital for new lungs.

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'The crew of Helimed 98 are in a race against failing daylight

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'to get a seriously ill patient to hospital to have a lung transplant.

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'Diane Wakefield has been waiting for this day for 18 months.

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'A donor organ has become available and it could be compatible.

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'The problem is, she's in Sheffield and all the surgeons are over 70 miles away in Newcastle.'

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Sheffield Airport, Helimed 98 departing to the north.

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'As the helicopter takes off,

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'the transplant team at the Freeman Hospital are starting to get ready for Diane.'

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-I've got a good feeling about this.

-Fingers crossed, Diane.

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'As Helimed 98 races the setting sun,

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'another dash is under way 1,000 feet below.

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'A surgical team is also heading for Newcastle with the donor lungs Diane desperately needs.'

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-When were you last up here, Diane?

-10th June.

-Were you not compatible?

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It's Dave on the air desk...

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'Despatcher Dave Gardner has been trying to organise a Newcastle helicopter

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'to pick Diane up and fly her the last leg of her relay to hospital.'

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Any luck with the support unit from Teesside?

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ON RADIO: 'Negative, he doesn't want to pull them out of area

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'unless there's a problem with the land transfer.

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'I think we've got a crew waiting at Ripon now. Over.'

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Diane, it'll be an ambulance ride from Ripon, I'm afraid.

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That's all right.

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You should be there for about half past seven.

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'The truth is, someone has already died to provide the donor organ.

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'The shortest possible delay

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'will give Diane the best chance of survival.'

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It's crucial that the timing is simultaneous in assessing the organ

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and getting the recipient, Diane, into our hospital for preparation.

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We need to minimise the period where the lung is explanted from the donor, has no blood supply

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and is stored in an ice box.

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-Going into land now, Diane.

-OK, my love.

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Best landing of the day! Managed to get it down without crashing!

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'They're trying to keep Diane smiling by teasing pilot Tim.

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'They know this is deadly serious.

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'If she doesn't get there on time, there isn't going to be another opportunity.'

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SURGEON: I'm sure she felt it within herself some extra sense

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that this was THE day.

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Critically, the ambulance got her here in time

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for us to proceed with the transplant.

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'The operation went well and, despite some setbacks,

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'Diane was soon breathing her own air for the first time in years.'

0:23:240:23:28

I was desperate for a new lung.

0:23:280:23:32

You do think, "It's never going to happen.

0:23:320:23:36

"I'm one of the unlucky ones

0:23:360:23:38

"that dies while I'm waiting."

0:23:380:23:41

But I was proved wrong!

0:23:410:23:43

Much to our delight.

0:23:430:23:46

Hopefully, this is a start of a whole new life.

0:23:460:23:50

'She'll never forget those 18 months confined to her home.

0:23:500:23:54

'Or the nine trips for a transplant that never happened

0:23:540:23:58

'because the organs were unsuitable or given to someone else.'

0:23:580:24:02

It's like you've been run over by a steamroller.

0:24:020:24:05

But then again, you're so happy for them,

0:24:050:24:09

because they've got what you want.

0:24:090:24:11

And you're so pleased that someone's given a chance to live again,

0:24:110:24:16

to be able to breathe again.

0:24:160:24:19

You are actually pleased for them,

0:24:190:24:21

even though you're devastated for yourself.

0:24:210:24:25

'Coming up, Nial's survived a serious road accident, but will he walk again?'

0:24:300:24:36

I know from experience, if you're a member of the emergency services,

0:24:400:24:45

you may take your uniform off, but you can never escape your job.

0:24:450:24:49

I once collared a shop-lifter when I was just walking out of the gym.

0:24:490:24:54

If you're medically trained, there's no such thing as a day off.

0:24:540:24:58

Duty can call at the most inconvenient of times.

0:24:580:25:01

His obs, everything's stable...

0:25:010:25:03

'That's what's happened today to Dave Butterfield,

0:25:030:25:07

'an ambulance officer and keen biker.

0:25:070:25:10

'He was riding across the moors when he came across three injured bikers,

0:25:100:25:15

'victims of a nasty smash.'

0:25:150:25:17

I've seen all the people stopped here in the distance.

0:25:170:25:22

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

0:25:220:25:27

'Christine Lock was riding pillion behind husband Steve when another rider crashed and hit their bike.

0:25:270:25:34

'Christine has a broken arm, leg and cuts. Steve's also hurt.'

0:25:340:25:40

A motorcyclist was overtaking one of the cars

0:25:400:25:44

when he's been in collision with a vehicle in the opposing direction.

0:25:440:25:48

He's flipped off his machine and hit another motorcyclist, causing him to lose control.

0:25:480:25:54

'Dave's not off duty any more.

0:25:540:25:57

'He's coordinating a major rescue operation

0:25:570:26:01

'including Helimed 99.'

0:26:010:26:03

We've got 30 miles to run, so 15 minutes...

0:26:030:26:07

'In the skies above North Yorkshire,

0:26:070:26:10

'pilot Craig Redmond wishes he'd taken the day off.

0:26:100:26:14

'It's full of amateur pilots.'

0:26:140:26:16

We're coming across the A1. We've got Linton.

0:26:160:26:20

Further south, Rawcliffe and the area of York.

0:26:200:26:23

Very, very busy with gliders.

0:26:230:26:27

I've got three or four visual over Linton.

0:26:270:26:30

Ahead, even busier. It needs to be a good lookout from all the crew.

0:26:300:26:37

'Craig and paramedic Lee Grey know there's no-one to help them avoid a mid-air collision.

0:26:370:26:43

'It's up to them to see and avoid other planes.'

0:26:430:26:46

The weather's perfect for biking.

0:26:460:26:49

It's a lovely sunny day and a Sunday as well. It gets them all out.

0:26:490:26:53

A fast straight road, it's going to involve multiple vehicles, usually.

0:26:530:26:59

'Back on the A171, the main road to the seaside resort of Whitby,

0:26:590:27:04

'Dave's prepared a landing site for the chopper.'

0:27:040:27:08

-I've got a stump on my side. Should be OK.

-Clear to your right.

0:27:080:27:13

Visual with the road on the left...

0:27:130:27:16

'And he's there to give paramedic Tony a briefing on his patients.'

0:27:160:27:21

I've got a lady and a husband off the red bike.

0:27:210:27:25

I've got a gentleman off another bike at the far side.

0:27:250:27:29

Obs, everything is stable.

0:27:290:27:31

The lady, possibly left leg, left arm injury, query fractures.

0:27:310:27:35

Man in blue shirt, her husband, pain on lefthand side.

0:27:350:27:40

SPO2, spot-on.

0:27:400:27:42

Gentleman being treated by my other crew, injuries to his right foot.

0:27:420:27:47

A bad cut, I believe. That's where we are.

0:27:470:27:50

'All three bikers were thrown on the grass verge by the impact.

0:27:500:27:55

'Christine's the most seriously hurt.

0:27:550:27:58

'Steve is more worried about her than his own injuries.'

0:27:580:28:02

-So there's no pain in this hand at all?

-No.

0:28:020:28:07

'The police have their own concerns.

0:28:070:28:10

'They are determined to reduce injuries and deaths among bikers

0:28:100:28:15

'and this incident is already under investigation.'

0:28:150:28:19

-Is that pain in your arm?

-Yes.

-In your wrist.

0:28:190:28:22

Are you all right, Christine? > Yeah. Yeah.

0:28:220:28:25

We're just taking her watch off.

0:28:250:28:28

Just hold your hand there.

0:28:280:28:30

'Like the riders in the accident,

0:28:300:28:33

'most of the eye-witnesses were on their way to the coast.'

0:28:330:28:38

It's the innocent bikers have got hit for no reason.

0:28:380:28:42

'Dave's still busy.'

0:28:440:28:47

I chose the wrong route on the wrong day.

0:28:470:28:50

'The biker who was the first to crash will go to hospital by road.

0:28:500:28:54

'His sports bike is badly damaged.'

0:28:540:28:57

'Because her injuries are more serious, Chris will be flying,

0:28:570:29:03

'and leaving Steve behind.'

0:29:030:29:06

We're about five minutes from take-off.

0:29:060:29:10

'With the first casualty heading for hospital,

0:29:100:29:13

'the police thank Dave for his help.'

0:29:130:29:16

He's made my job a lot easier, assessing the casualties and administering first aid.

0:29:160:29:22

Absolutely magic.

0:29:220:29:25

'Chris was flown to Scarborough hospital,

0:29:270:29:30

'where she and Steve were allowed to share a ward.

0:29:300:29:33

'Their bike needs major repairs but they plan to ride again next year.'

0:29:330:29:38

It's tough when duty ruins your day off.

0:29:380:29:42

It's harder when you're the user of your own emergency service.

0:29:420:29:46

It never happened to me, but one paramedic's trip to the coast

0:29:460:29:51

ended up in meeting some workmates he'd rather not have bumped into.

0:29:510:29:56

'The Kilburn White Horse, a landmark overlooking the Vale of York.

0:29:560:30:01

'It's a tourist attraction carved in the side of the North York Moors.

0:30:010:30:06

'Today, it's a navigational aid for the crew of Helimed 98.'

0:30:060:30:10

There's the white horse.

0:30:100:30:13

'They've been called to a road smash by colleague Dave Gardner,

0:30:130:30:17

'who alternates shifts as their despatcher with duties on a road ambulance.'

0:30:170:30:23

This 4x4's been on its side.

0:30:230:30:26

The driver's one of our lads from Harrogate.

0:30:260:30:29

He thinks something came out of the woods, possibly a deer.

0:30:290:30:34

He swerved to avoid it. He's been trapped for about 45 minutes.

0:30:340:30:39

He thinks his pelvis has gone, from the pain in his back.

0:30:390:30:43

'But Dave's not the only familiar face today.'

0:30:430:30:47

This is Steve, a paramedic at Harrogate.

0:30:470:30:50

We think he's hit a tree.

0:30:500:30:52

Complaining of a lot of pain in his hip.

0:30:520:30:55

'Steve was driving his girlfriend and kids back from a day by the sea when he lost control of his 4x4,

0:30:550:31:03

'which rolled several times.'

0:31:030:31:06

We'd been to Whitby. We were coming along there. I was asleep.

0:31:070:31:11

He thought he saw something which made him swerve.

0:31:110:31:14

'It took firefighters half an hour to free him.

0:31:140:31:18

'Steve diagnosed his own injury.'

0:31:180:31:21

ALL TALK AT ONCE

0:31:210:31:24

'He fears his pelvis is broken.

0:31:240:31:27

'There's no shortage of woodland around here.

0:31:270:31:30

'The cause of the accident is hiding.

0:31:300:31:33

'Steve swerved to avoid a deer.'

0:31:330:31:36

You do see quite a lot coming onto the road.

0:31:360:31:39

It's one of those natural phenomenons, isn't it?

0:31:390:31:44

Make sure they let me know. Be sure somebody gets you home.

0:31:440:31:49

'Steve's girlfriend was dozing.

0:31:490:31:51

'Her shocked mother and kids have been taken in by a local farmer.'

0:31:510:31:56

It could have been worse. We'll just thank our lucky stars.

0:31:560:32:01

'The family's been very lucky.

0:32:010:32:04

'Steve's injured his arm, but the air bag prevented further injury,

0:32:040:32:08

'apart from his broken pelvis.

0:32:080:32:10

'The two children were showered in glass.

0:32:100:32:13

'Steve's answering the questions he normally asks.'

0:32:130:32:17

Can you feel me touching you?

0:32:170:32:20

-Yeah.

-Can you feel me touching you there?

-Yeah.

0:32:200:32:23

Have a deep breath for me again.

0:32:230:32:26

-Any problems?

-Just in that...

-Just in that side?

0:32:260:32:30

It's probably nicer for him, people that you know.

0:32:300:32:35

It's a lot better for him. He'll be fine.

0:32:350:32:38

Right? One, two, three, go.

0:32:380:32:40

'Treating a fellow paramedic

0:32:400:32:43

'is an unusual experience for the Helimed team, too.'

0:32:430:32:47

In 23 years, I've been to two for a paramedic or technician.

0:32:470:32:54

It must be even stranger for Steve receiving it from the other end.

0:32:540:32:59

He knows what's happening.

0:32:590:33:01

'Steve's 4x4 is a write-off.

0:33:010:33:04

'At least he's repairable.

0:33:040:33:07

'In a few minutes, he'll be a patient in Harrogate hospital, a place he knows well.'

0:33:070:33:12

Helicopter lifting...

0:33:120:33:15

'The cause of the accident is as unusual as the patient.'

0:33:170:33:21

It is quite rare for a wild animal to be involved in incidents.

0:33:210:33:26

Certainly, up in the Dales,

0:33:260:33:28

they are a factor that motorists should consider when driving.

0:33:280:33:33

If a large animal comes out in front of you,

0:33:330:33:38

it's almost like, if not worse than, hitting a human.

0:33:380:33:42

They cause a lot of damage to the vehicle and to the person.

0:33:420:33:47

It's worse if it's a motorcycle.

0:33:470:33:50

Drop a little when we come off. That's it. And down.

0:33:500:33:54

'Steve spent more than a week in hospital.

0:33:540:33:57

'And he's never been short of visitors.

0:33:570:34:00

'Most of his workmates drop in three or more times a day.'

0:34:000:34:05

When you're on holiday, it's hard to leave work behind when you're a member of the emergency services.

0:34:070:34:14

Imagine driving down a country lane and you come across a car smash.

0:34:140:34:18

Do you drive on? Or do you stop and try and help?

0:34:180:34:22

If you're a fire officer, it's an easy decision.

0:34:220:34:26

'Paramedic Lee Davison has touched down at a single-vehicle shunt in the Yorkshire Dales,

0:34:260:34:32

'to find he has a helping hand.

0:34:320:34:34

'Or two, to be precise.

0:34:340:34:37

'Fire officer John Scott has been holding the driver's head for 15 minutes.'

0:34:370:34:42

How did you get in the back, mate? Through this door?

0:34:420:34:47

I'll pass that to you. OK?

0:34:470:34:50

'John knew he could have a broken neck.

0:34:500:34:53

'So he climbed in the back to help.'

0:34:530:34:57

There was a passer-by that's been keeping the guy's head still

0:34:570:35:03

in case he had any neck injuries.

0:35:030:35:06

They've done all the right things.

0:35:060:35:09

Waited for us to get here. We've taken over now.

0:35:090:35:13

I was dealing with him primarily.

0:35:130:35:16

It'll be us that'll fly him off to Harrogate.

0:35:160:35:19

Going to pop a tube into the back of your hand.

0:35:190:35:23

'The driver's got a deep gash in his scalp.'

0:35:230:35:27

I'm going to have to move this. It's a bit of lamb.

0:35:270:35:31

'He's been hit by a cash register and a leg of lamb he was carrying on the back seat.

0:35:310:35:38

'Now money's blowing around!

0:35:380:35:40

'John's partner Lisa is doing her best to collect it.'

0:35:400:35:45

There's cash everywhere. He's been coming back from work.

0:35:450:35:49

There's a cash till in the back.

0:35:490:35:52

Because my husband's a fire officer,

0:35:520:35:55

he offered to give advice and first aid.

0:35:550:35:58

He stabilised him, and we just provided towels and septic wipes.

0:35:580:36:03

Collected a load of money to put it back in the car for him, bless him.

0:36:030:36:07

'They were in their mobile home when they came across the accident.

0:36:070:36:12

'They were well qualified to help.'

0:36:120:36:15

We're both in the fire service so we're used to it!

0:36:150:36:18

I'm in the control room so we're used to dealing with emergency services.

0:36:180:36:25

'Thanks to their 999 call, the emergency services are arriving in force.

0:36:250:36:31

'Lee knows that he also needs John's local colleagues.

0:36:310:36:35

'Without the fire brigade's cutters, they'll never free their patient.'

0:36:350:36:40

Dave, can you activate the fire service? We're going to need them to get him out.

0:36:400:36:46

'Now reinforcements have arrived,

0:36:470:36:49

'someone can take over the head holding.

0:36:490:36:52

'And off-duty hero John can resume his holiday.'

0:36:520:36:56

Just finished doing the washing-up so I had my Marigolds to hand.

0:36:560:37:02

'They had just left a local campsite when they saw the accident.'

0:37:020:37:08

The vehicle rolled three times so there's a risk of spinal injuries.

0:37:080:37:13

Keeping his head nice and still, making sure he doesn't go anywhere.

0:37:130:37:18

'Cutting the driver free is not going to be easy.

0:37:180:37:21

'But the firefighters around here

0:37:210:37:24

'are as well equipped as John's team back in Nottinghamshire.

0:37:240:37:29

'And the roof is soon off the car,

0:37:290:37:31

'allowing the Helimed team to extract their patient.'

0:37:310:37:35

Keep nice and still for me. Keep still.

0:37:350:37:39

'The driver was flown to hospital in Harrogate,

0:37:420:37:45

'where his head was stitched up.

0:37:450:37:47

'He later failed a breath test.'

0:37:470:37:49

And I'm pleased to say, all our patients recovered.

0:37:520:37:56

Here in Catterick Garrison, everyone's mind is on ten-year-old Nial Ryan,

0:37:560:38:01

knocked down here on his way home from school.

0:38:010:38:05

Big lamppost here.

0:38:050:38:08

'There's no doubt, Helimed 99 pilot Steve Cobb was the hero,

0:38:080:38:12

'squeezing his helicopter into a town-centre crossroads.'

0:38:120:38:17

You're all clear front left. Clear of the lamppost, clear of the tree.

0:38:170:38:22

'The rotorblades feet from street lamps, traffic lights and trees.

0:38:220:38:27

'Thanks to his flying, ten-year-old Nial, who was critically injured when he was knocked down by a car,

0:38:270:38:35

'is now on his way to hospital.'

0:38:350:38:38

And blades are clear of lamppost.

0:38:380:38:41

'The crash team at James Cook in Middlesbrough are on stand-by.'

0:38:410:38:46

From Catterick to James Cook.

0:38:460:38:49

'It's ten minutes since Steve lifted off from Catterick.

0:38:490:38:54

'Now, he's on final approach to the hospital helipad.'

0:38:540:38:58

-Pilot safe lock.

-Safe lock rear door.

-Safe lock front left.

0:38:580:39:03

'The crew know patients don't get much more critical than Nial.

0:39:030:39:08

'The next 24 hours will be crucial.

0:39:080:39:12

'Inside James Cook Hospital, doctors operate on their young patient for much of the evening.

0:39:120:39:18

'Just 48 hours later, Nial's well enough to be transferred to the children's ward.

0:39:180:39:24

'He's from an army family. Mum Fran's now in civvy street.

0:39:240:39:30

'And she was just around the corner when the accident happened.'

0:39:300:39:35

< I was stuck in the traffic

0:39:350:39:37

that had started to build up.

0:39:370:39:39

So I had stopped, and my phone rang.

0:39:390:39:44

A taxi driver got my number and told me that he'd been in an accident.

0:39:440:39:49

I went up the road the wrong way, round the corner.

0:39:490:39:53

And it was just opposite the bus stop.

0:39:530:39:57

My knees just went beneath me.

0:39:570:40:00

'Nial's arm and leg were badly broken and he lost a lot of blood.

0:40:000:40:06

'His mum knows she has the Helimed team to thank for his rapid surgery.'

0:40:060:40:11

The air crew were fantastic.

0:40:110:40:14

I remember the helicopter flying overhead.

0:40:140:40:18

Then one of the military police saying

0:40:180:40:21

they were going to land it in the middle of the crossroads.

0:40:210:40:25

You don't think it's that big.

0:40:250:40:28

The way they did it, I mean, that's one hell of a pilot that did that.

0:40:280:40:33

'Army families are used to facing adversity on almost a daily basis.

0:40:330:40:38

'So it's no surprise that, a few weeks later, Nial is back

0:40:380:40:43

'at one of the four primary schools in Catterick Garrison.'

0:40:430:40:47

-Good morning.

-CHILDREN: Good morning!

0:40:470:40:51

'Nial's accident has been the talk of the playground,

0:40:510:40:55

'a welcome change for families waiting for news from Afghanistan and Iraq.

0:40:550:41:00

'And first lesson is to show what Nial should have been doing when he crossed the road.'

0:41:000:41:07

-What things help us cross a road?

-< Traffic lights.

0:41:070:41:11

Are they all stopped?

0:41:110:41:14

-Yeah.

-Is it safe to cross? Keep looking as you cross the road.

0:41:140:41:19

Excellent. Off to school.

0:41:190:41:21

Perfect. Give them a round of applause.

0:41:210:41:25

'North Yorkshire County Council's road safety guru Neil Strickland

0:41:250:41:29

'sees youngsters injured on our roads all too often.

0:41:290:41:34

'Now he's got the perfect tool - the frame holding Nial's leg together.'

0:41:340:41:39

-What do you think was your first mistake?

-Running across the road the first time.

0:41:390:41:45

-What should you have done?

-Used the traffic lights.

-Mm-hm.

0:41:450:41:52

If the car had been going faster it would have been a lot worse.

0:41:520:41:56

At least you're still here.

0:41:560:41:58

I never heard about any of my friends getting hurt that much.

0:41:580:42:03

It really scared me.

0:42:030:42:05

We've got a long time left in our lives and we can't go around being scared but you have to be careful.

0:42:050:42:12

'Catterick lives with the reality of war in Afghanistan.

0:42:120:42:16

'Barely a week goes by without a family seeing a friend or colleague on the casualty list.

0:42:160:42:23

'But the accident affected the whole town.

0:42:230:42:26

'Without the medical skills of some soldiers, Nial may not have lived to reach hospital.'

0:42:260:42:32

When Helicopter Heroes comes back,

0:42:320:42:36

'paramedic Sammy meets a difficult patient.'

0:42:360:42:38

Stop it!

0:42:380:42:42

'The team fight to save a farm worker trapped in a baling machine.'

0:42:420:42:46

We have to amputate your left arm.

0:42:460:42:49

'It's a tight squeeze as paramedic Tony leads the operation to rescue

0:42:500:42:55

'the victim of a bizarre accident.

0:42:550:42:57

'And a holiday on the coast ends in a serious crash.'

0:43:000:43:04

A nasty open skull fracture.

0:43:040:43:06

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:190:43:21

Pilot Steve touches down in the middle of an army camp after a 10-year-old boy is knocked down, darkness threatens to ground a transplant patient's life-saving flight and an off duty medic becomes a patient.

Rav Wilding presents.


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