Rav Wilding looks at the work of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. A girl is knocked down on her way home from school and a pilot touches down at a garage to rescue an injured mechanic.
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If you're critically ill or seriously injured in a place like this,
there's only one thing that can save you, and that's speed.
It doesn't matter where you are, this helicopter,
with its highly trained team of pilots and paramedics,
will fly to your rescue at two-and-a-half miles a minute.
These are Yorkshire's helicopter heroes.
When the people of England's biggest county dial 999,
there's a good chance help will come from the skies.
The Yorkshire Air Ambulance is ready to scramble 365 days a year,
and each one brings a new life or death emergency.
Today on Helicopter Heroes, a little girl's knocked down on the way home from school.
-Your daddy's here.
Look at the helicopter.
It's a big yellow one.
There's a freak accident in a garage and a mechanic needs help.
He's fallen face down. He's complaining of facial and chest injuries.
-This man's having a heart attack and the team face a fight for his life in midair.
Just bear with it, a couple of minutes.
-Not too tight?
And I'm on the wrong end of a mountain rescue high in the Peak District.
When you're a paramedic, every job you deal with is potentially a matter of life and death.
Of course, not all cases are that serious, but when a car hits a child
the Helimed team know that their skills are going to be critical.
There's been a road accident in the village of Carthorpe in North Yorkshire.
A six-year-old female has been knocked down by a car.
She's got an open fracture of her lower leg.
Helimed 99 is on the case.
The crew know that cases involving children can be difficult.
They've a different toleration to pain.
Being a five-year-old, he's probably more aware of what's going on,
but sometimes they're not aware that, you know,
you might have to put a needle in their arm and it's going to hurt.
And small children in great pain aren't able to describe their injuries.
The paramedics must get their diagnosis absolutely right, as Paul Bradbury knows only too well.
Yeah, it's all... It all depends on how fast the car's travelling,
whereabouts on the body the child's been hit.
The thing is with children, they tend to "go off" rather quickly, so one minute
they can be fine and talking to us
and the next minute, they can be going downhill quite quickly.
Little Emma Baines was walking home from school with her mum when she ran into the road. She's badly hurt.
Her mum, Lindsey, dialled 999 and a ground ambulance crew was quickly on the scene, but they had it easy.
Pilot Andy Figg has to find a place to put down
three tonnes of helicopter in the heart of the village.
Just going over the trees now. I'll just keep an eye on watching the gardens and the houses.
Keep a good look out for small wires, please.
Even a phone line can spell disaster for Helimed 99, so Paul's taking no chances with the lookout.
The accident happened outside the family's home.
Their back garden just isn't big enough to be a helipad.
-I'm happy this side, Simon, if you are.
-I'm happy this side.
But there's a field beyond it that might just do the trick.
The trouble is, it's surrounded by trees.
Coming into this next field. Happy with that? Wires on the left-hand side of it.
Andy flew Lynx assault helicopters for the Army before taking this job.
Now his flying skills are being used to save lives if he can only get the Helimed crew down.
At last, he's done it.
Emma's dad was working from home when he heard a scream.
-I was just inside and they were going off to the school run and she had her by the hand.
And for whatever reason, kids are kids, she suddenly pulled and ran out and there was a car just drove past.
A typical scenario. A kid steps out between two cars.
His daughter's an hour from hospital by road.
It's time that could be more critical than the crew realised.
Hello! Don't cry. You'll get me going.
Are you all right? Is it Emma?
Do you want to go and have a fly in a helicopter with your mummy, eh?
The passing car was only travelling slowly, less than 20 miles an hour.
-She ran out the front.
-She's come that side or...? Yeah?
So, she was running out and you've caught her.
-That's round the bumper? Yeah.
The damage to the vehicle and the account of the shocked driver
could give Paul vital clues to Emma's injuries and how best to treat them.
What happened to the little girl? Did she go onto the ground and then...?
-Yeah. Did she stay there till the ambulance came, or...?
-No, the mother's came and...
-Took her in.
-Took her and put her onto the floor over there, yeah.
-Are you all right?
-Other than shook up. All right.
Emma? Emma, can you do me a favour? Can you wiggle your toes for me?
-Can you move these toes?
-Can you wiggle them?
-Does that hurt too much?
-Yeah. All right.
The impact has smashed Emma's leg so badly, part of her tibia, the main bone in her lower leg, is missing.
Surgeons will have to reconstruct her leg,
and the sooner that happens, the better her outlook will be.
Coming up, only speed and a surgeon can save little Emma's leg.
That much bone has shattered and come out. Hopefully,
they can reattach the bone back to the leg.
The team land on a village green to rescue a heart patient,
and up in the Peak District, there's a high altitude emergency.
-All right, we need somewhere to land.
-OK, just to the left, mate.
Now, some jobs are more dangerous than others.
When I was a copper, I used to have one, and these guys do too, but sometimes, danger lurks
in the most seemingly innocent of workplaces, especially when it involves a hole in the ground.
Helimed 99 is touching down almost as soon as it's taken off today, less than a mile from its base.
In his dad's garage, 19-year-old Matthew Duffield has fallen
head-first into a six foot deep MOT inspection pit.
He's not moved since the accident happened.
Face down, facial injuries, query fractured legs.
Paramedics Pat Greakin and Sammy Wills are trained to deal with all-sorts of situations,
but this job is going to put all their skills and years of experience to the test.
-This is Matthew.
-He's fallen from above there, broken his fall with his hands and hit his head.
-He's complaining of pain in the left side of his head.
-Pain in his chest.
-Hip pain, around his pelvic area.
-And pain to his left leg.
-And right arm, here in this area.
Falls like this are serious and over 50 people died last year after falling while at work.
Matthew's landed on his head, but a potential head injury
is not the only reason why Sammy looks concerned.
She's worried Matthew could also have damaged his neck and spine.
-Can you feel me touching?
-Whereabouts am I?
-Over towards my ankles.
-Yeah. Both legs.
-Have you got any pain in your legs at all?
Just where I've grazed my leg.
-OK. You haven't got any pins and needles?
-In my hand, my hand here.
-Which I'm leaning on.
Matthew's dad, David, saw his son fall and is understandably distressed.
He's taken all the right safety precautions to prevent accidents like this happening,
but all he can do now is wait to hear the full extent of his son's injuries.
-So, it's you chest that hurts most.
-I smashed my face.
-Do you know if he was knocked out at all?
-No, apparently not.
-If you take a deep breath, does that hurt?
He's fallen face down.
He's complaining of facial and chest injuries, and we're not too sure
about his legs, whether he's broken his legs or not.
It's difficult to get into him because he's right up against the back wall,
so we're going to see if we can get him a little bit more stable, a little bit more comfortable,
then have a check of him and make sure there's no serious injuries.
I'm going to pop this collar around your neck, Matthew.
Try not to move your head. Just let me control it.
The narrow pit is a less than ideal place to examine a patient, but paramedics Sammy and Pat
must now work out how they're going to move Matthew without making his injuries any worse.
Can you get the board down here as we walk him along it? That might work really well.
-Walk him along it?
-If we slide him along.
Yeah, slide him on the board.
Keep sucking on that, Matthew, because it wears off
and it takes a little while for it to work properly as well.
Now, then, I've got the fire service on their so they can help us lift you out of here, all right?
-Because that's my other challenge.
-How you doing, mate?
Sammy and Pat are more used to using the skills of the Fire Brigade
to prise patients from their wrecked cars,
but getting Matthew out safely is going to be a more delicate operation.
What we're going to try and do is put the board here
and slowly lift him as he is onto the board, then try and do a complete 180 onto the board.
One of the first skills you learn as a paramedic is the importance of immobilisation.
Even small movements to an injured neck or spine can cause more damage
and, in the worst cases, can cause paralysis.
Matthew is still lying face down on the hard concrete floor, but the time has come to move him.
The seriousness of Mathew's injuries and the length of his recovery will all depend on what the team do next.
One, two, three, lift.
Coming up, the mechanic's rescue starts and there's a problem.
-I'm scared of needles.
-Are you scared of needles?
-It's OK. We're not going to put a needle in you just yet.
Five-year-old Emma could lose her leg and her parents know it.
How long can they keep a brave face?
Would you trust your life to a few pieces of rope? I'm not sure I do.
The chap's been climbing, come off the route here.
When you live in a city,
you may think the UK is wall-to-wall concrete, but it's not.
When you see it from up here, you realise we live in a pretty green country.
You don't have to be far off the beaten track for a relatively minor emergency
to turn into something more complicated and potentially life-threatening.
The picturesque village of Thornton Watlass in North Yorkshire
is the perfect place to get away from the noise and stress of urban life,
but if something goes wrong, living in this rural paradise
also means you're miles from the nearest hospital, and that's where the Helimed team come in.
One of the villagers is having chest pains and there's concern he could be having a heart attack.
This condition is relatively straightforward to treat in hospital, but patients
must get to specialist care quickly.
That's why in remote districts like this, heart attacks can be fatal.
We've been despatched up to a detail in North Yorkshire,
a patient that I've spoke to on the phone who's had chest pain
for approximately an hour.
It seems to have got worse.
He's fitted the criteria for us to actually despatch and go out to him.
Chest pain radiating down his left arm, didn't feel well, felt nauseous.
With any heart attack, time really is of the essence.
The quicker we can get him to definitive care at Leeds,
then the better chance there is
of a better outcome long-term for the patient.
Quite a bank of cloud ahead just coming. Can you see it, yeah?
At 150 miles an hour, the 20-mile trip will take less than 10 minutes,
but there's a problem, which means Helimed 99 may never reach its patient.
Yeah, the weather is quite bad out here.
We don't have much visibility, quite a low cloud base.
We're not going to be able to route direct to the incident.
The ground to the north gets higher for us.
It starts climbing the further north we get.
The plan is to head out to the east and get to the Vale of York and basically track the A1 up.
'York Control. Helimed, go ahead, over.'
This is so frustrating for the crew, but flying into that could be dangerous
and many of the UK's other Air Ambulances are grounded.
The weather is quite poor at the moment, so there is a possibility
we may have to turn back, but we are giving it a go.
The ETA is about ten minutes, over.
They know their patient needs their help, but pilot Steve Cobb must put the safety of his crew first.
-It's definitely worse out to the west, though, isn't it?
But on the horizon, there's good news.
The clouds are lifting and Thornton Watlass comes into view and a local groundsman
is about to get a shock as pilot Steve heads for the village cricket pitch.
-Just watch, he's got a rope around it, this cricket pitch.
It won't take long for paramedics Tony Wilkes and Lee Davison
to find out if their patient's having a heart attack.
An electrocardiogram, or ECG machine, can detect even the smallest irregularity
in someone's heartbeat.
It's not definitive from what we've seen on his ECG that he's had a heart attack,
but there are some anomalies that may lead us towards that.
There's suspicions that there's something going out.
The treatment that you get for that is time-critical,
so if you went by land ambulance, it'd just delay that treatment.
It takes Lee and Tony some time to convince 61-year-old Thomas Mitchell
that he actually needs to go to hospital.
The chest pain has subsided and he doesn't want to inconvenience the crews,
but Lee and Tony know that Thomas needs to get checked out.
The risk of suffering a heart attack greatly increases with age.
We're going to load the patient, but we've got to be careful with where the ambulance pulls up.
We don't want to be getting stuck with the ambulance next to us,
because then we can't take off.
A specialist cardiac team is being readied over 40 miles away at the Leeds General Infirmary.
Without Helimed 99, Thomas would be facing an hour-long journey in the back of an ambulance.
The weather we came through is moving across from the west to the east. It's quite a low cloud base.
We don't want to get to the situation where we're stuck and not able to get back to Leeds,
which is the highest airport in the country. We have to be careful where we go.
We've decided to go to Leeds and then we can get straight back to the airport afterwards.
What's going to happen, we're going to land at Leeds.
There's a helipad on top of the roof, which is quite interesting,
so you'll be able to see that as we land.
Then we're going to take you down to an angio suite, where the doctors will look at you
and see what's been going on.
I didn't want to waste his time.
No, you're not wasting his time, mate.
The problem with cardiac things, they're not always that obvious
until you get to hospital and they do tests.
We'd rather take somebody in and it turns out to be nothing and let you go home,
rather than you be sat at home and it is something that needs dealing with,
so you're not wasting his time.
We'd only be sat watching telly, eating bacon butties anyway, so don't worry about that.
Thomas seems to be quite relaxed and enjoying the flight,
but his condition is about to take a sudden turn for the worse.
You feel sick. Two seconds.
Significant changes now.
OK, mate, just bare with it, a couple of minutes.
Thomas is having a heart attack.
He's struggling to cope with the pain and the ECG machine tells Tony all he needs to know.
Is it extending on two and three?
-Yeah, yeah. Quite a lot.
Tony used to be a cardiac nurse and has seen patients deteriorate like this before,
but never in the back of a helicopter.
-OK, we're showing four minutes.
-Four minutes, OK.
It's four minutes and you'll be there.
There's little Tony can do and Lee is powerless to help from the front seat.
You rest it on my knee, if that's going to help, OK?
Thomas's heart is desperately trying to pump blood around his body, but it could fail at any moment.
Tony and Lee must now hope that that pilot Steve can get Thomas
-to hospital before he goes into cardiac arrest.
-What are you scoring your pain at, Tom?
If it was three before, what are you saying it is now?
What's your pain like?
-Has it gone right up now? OK.
The sprawling centre of Leeds is a welcome sight for the whole crew, and when speed matters,
the LGI's rooftop helipad comes into its own.
Studies show that the first hour after a heart attack is vital, and thanks to Helimed 99,
Thomas is on his way to the operating table just ten minutes after his attack started.
If he'd stayed at home, this story could have had a very different ending.
This is the on call team. We've got direct contact with them if we get patients that require their services.
As we've landed on the helipad, they're waiting here, actually in the theatre, to take the patient from us.
Hopefully, he'll get sorted and he'll be feeling 100 times better.
Modern technology means many heart conditions can now be easily treated,
but Tony knows just how lucky Thomas has been.
He was dropping his blood pressure quite significantly.
That would have carried on. His pulse was continuously dropping.
That would have carried on. Eventually, it gets to a point where you just can't sustain
that kind of cardiac rhythm and blood pressure
and you will go into cardiac arrest and ultimately die.
Despite medical advances, about 20% of heart attack patients do not recover.
Thomas undergoes surgery on his heart straight away, and just two weeks later, he's back home
feeling better than he has done for years.
No, I didn't realise it was a heart attack at all.
I just thought it was to do with my arm.
This pain in my arm was just making all my chest ache and down my leg.
But, you know, later on, when they said
you're actually having a heart attack,
then it all sort of fits, really.
So, all I was thinking about was the cost of getting this Air Ambulance out to me. I just didn't want it.
And it wasn't because I was scared to go in it, I just thought it was going to cost too much money.
They said to me, look, we make the decision, and our decision is
you're going by helicopter, and that was the end of the argument, really.
I mean, the decisions the paramedics made
was the thing that saved my life, I think.
Coming up, the rescue of a mechanic trapped in an inspection pit begins.
That collar isn't on perfectly, but it's the best that we can do in the position that we're in.
And up in the Peaks, a climber's had a nasty accident.
A real sort of sharp pain in the middle of my spine.
Every parent knows the importance of road safety, and when kids are young,
it only takes one moment's lapse in concentration to cause a lifetime of regret.
And in one village in North Yorkshire, one mum is going through that nightmare.
Helimed 99 pilot Andy Figg carried out a tricky landing in the middle
of a village in North Yorkshire to rescue five-year-old Emma Baines.
She was knocked down by a car after she ran out in the road outside her home.
Now she needs emergency surgery.
Her leg is so badly broken, part of her tibia,
the main bone in her lower leg, was found lying beside her.
Her father, Richard, knows flying her 30 miles to the James Cook University Hospital at Middlesbrough
is his daughter's best chance of walking normally again.
-We have to operate on her leg and do it sort of straight away.
So, it's about a 15-minute flight for us to get up there.
-So, what we'll do first of all is pop her onto what we call a spine brace,
-which is a long, hard plastic board, and we'll just fly her up to James Cook.
Emma's mum, Lindsey, is distraught.
She'd been holding Emma's hand on the trip home from school
when the five-year-old pulled away and ran into the road.
All right, sunshine.
You hold on to the bunny.
Now mother and daughter are on their way to hospital.
-Daddy's here. Don't worry, sweetie.
Look at the helicopter. It's a big yellow one.
Keeping children happy when they've been seriously injured is difficult,
but most of the paramedics are parents themselves and have a trick or two up their sleeves.
Mummy's coming, too. Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, clunk. There we go.
A piece of the bone,
about that much of the bone, has shattered and come out.
We managed to get the bone. We're gonna take that to the hospital,
and hopefully, they can reattach the bone back to the leg and hope she'll make a good recovery.
We're going to up to James Cook. They've got the surgical skills
to be able to carry out that operation.
OK, and lifting.
-You're all clear on this side.
As Helimed 99 lifts off, surgeons are already scrubbing up
in Middlesbrough, ready to receive their young patient.
-Yeah, just transitioning. We're just going forward.
Half an hour ago, Emma's mum was wondering what to make her daughter for tea.
Now she knows she must sit out a tense evening awaiting the result of a critical operation.
You OK, Emma?
-She's looking out the window, so that's a good sign.
-This is it, on the nose.
Someone else who won't be home for an early tea tonight is paramedic Simon.
That's my house down there at 11 o'clock.
-Do you want dropping off on the way home?
-It would save you a drive!
What the crew haven't told Lindsey is that Helimed 99
has a technical fault that could have prevented them reaching her.
The generator that charges the chopper's battery is malfunctioning.
They daren't stop the engines if they're to get it back to base, where an engineer is waiting.
We'll land on the helipad, but we're gonna keep the engines running, My colleague will come round
and get you out and walk you away from the helicopter, and I'll bring Emma.
So, it's just that the battery's not acting as it should do on the helicopter,
so we don't want to end up not being able to start when we try and start up again.
Less than 15 minutes after taking off from the bottom of her back garden,
Emma is now yards from an orthopaedic surgeon.
Inside a drinks container, Lindsey is carrying the missing bone from Emma's leg.
The next hour will decide whether her daughter works normally again or faces a lifetime of disability.
Coming up, Emma reaches surgery, but there's a setback for the hospital team.
-Are you all right?
-Not too tight?
-Yeah. No, it's OK.
Meanwhile, high in the hills, mountain rescue have an outsized patient on their hands.
Let's hope they don't drop him.
More than 200 people die in the UK every year in accidents at work, so Matthew Duffield is lucky
he's still alive, but he still needs to be rescued
after a nasty fall in his dad's garage.
In a garage just a mile from the Air Ambulance HQ at Leeds Bradford Airport,
flying paramedics Pat Greakin and Sammy Wills are about to perform a dangerous operation,
trying to move a patient who's fallen head first
into an MOT inspection pit that's over six feet deep.
19-year-old Matthew Duffield works in the garage with his dad.
He hasn't moved since he fell.
-I'm scared of needles.
-You're scared of needles, mate?
-It's OK. We're not going to put a needle in you just yet, OK, lad?
So, you can relax about that.
Needles are the least of Matthew's worries.
It's impossible for Sammy to tell if he's damaged his neck or spine until they move him,
and a nasty cut on his head could signify a head injury.
That collar isn't on perfectly, but it's the best that we can do in this position.
Sammy and Pat decide to attach straps to a rigid spinal board before lowering it into the pit.
Once they've positioned Matthew onto the board,
and with the help of the local Fire Brigade, they're going to gently lift him out.
It's a plan and we're going to stick to it.
Yeah, I'm just going to unwrangle his legs.
-But just don't lift, all right?
-One, two, three, lift.
Any paramedic will tell you this is a nerve-racking operation.
Every time they move Matthew, they risk worsening any spinal injury,
-but there's no other way to get him out.
-Right, are we ready?
One, two, three, lift.
Matthew appears to be pain-free, but Sammy and Pat know
this doesn't mean their patient hasn't sustained any serious injuries.
Fractures of the spine can often need a scan before they're diagnosed.
Are we ready to move about six inches?
-Are you ready, Sam?
Ready, one, two, three, lift.
That's it. Right.
They've done it. Matthew's safely on the spinal board and can now be carefully lifted out of the pit,
-where he's been lying face down for well over half an hour.
-Well done, Matthew. Stay still for me.
-My chest is fine now.
-Oh, that's fantastic news.
-It must have been where my hand was.
-It must have been how you were laid.
Immobilising a patient is rarely this tricky, but there's still one manoeuvre to do
before Sammy and Pat can get Matthew out of his dad's garage and on his way to hospital.
-And ready, steady, roll.
-Nice one, you've played a blinder there.
Helimed 99, yeah, we'll definitely be taking Chris. If you could jack up the porters
and just give Cobby a ring and let him know that we are taking.
-Sam, I keep thinking this is a dream.
-It's not a dream.
-I know it ain't.
-Are you mum?
-Thanks, Mum. Yeah, I'm fine now.
-Take a deep breath for me, Matt. Good lad. Does that hurt any?
It must have been where my arm was.
Despite being strapped onto a spinal board,
Matthew seems pretty relaxed and unaffected by the ordeal.
For his rescuers, it's been a gruelling operation that's taken 20 people nearly an hour to complete.
But for pilot Steve, the hardest and most dangerous part of this mission is still to come.
This is quite a tight landing area. It's an old quarry. There's also lots of industrial work around it,
skip lorries, concrete work, et cetera, quite high trees and a lot of telephone lines there.
So, it was quite a tight landing.
We have to watch out, especially today, very windy,
watching out of for debris coming out of skips.
So, it's all eyes out the window for this one.
Helimed 99 is capable of climbing at over 2,000 feet a minute,
but this take off requires a more delicate approach.
Helimed 99, alpha.
And thanks to Steve, in just a matter of seconds, the helicopter
is speeding towards the Leeds General Infirmary and its rooftop helipad.
He's been very lucky. He's put his hands out in front of him, which has managed to save his face.
The position of where he was and his position of how he was laid, he was hurting all over.
It was quite a challenge to assess.
I could only hear the breath sounds, but he was saying his chest really, really hurt.
Once we'd got him out of the pit and been able to lay him face up,
it became quite apparent that his injuries,
although he was complaining of pain, weren't as severe as I'd feared.
We still brought him into resuss to get him checked out.
I don't think he'll be in here very long and his mum and dad are on their way.
Matthew's had a remarkable escape.
Last year, well over 100,000 people were injured while at work
and many of these people will take weeks, months or even years to get back on their feet. But not Matthew.
By the end of the week, he's helping his dad David to clear the backlog of MOTs,
and he's making sure he's being a bit more careful.
A cut across my nose and a graze on my leg,
left leg, left elbow and my left forehead.
-I won't be going down the pit again!
-Right, Matty, waggle those wheels up and down.
Right, and spin it, please.
It's distressing for any boss to see an employee injured at work, and dad David is especially careful
-when it comes to safety at the family business.
-Right, thank you.
Start it up, please.
-But there was nothing he could do to stop Matthew falling.
It looked really proper deadly serious on Monday,
but how he's walked out of there, I don't really know.
He must have just bounced. Luck must have been on his side that day.
Coming up, there are extra lessons in road safety at little Emma Baines' primary school.
ALL: If you want to cross the road...
But will she be fit to join them?
To land a helicopter, you need a relatively flat piece of land and down it comes.
But when your patient's stuck over the edge of something like this,
the Helimed team are going to need this lot's expert help.
Mountain Rescue, a volunteer force who will turn out 365 days a year, whatever the weather.
I'm spending the day with them at Curbar Edge in the stunning Peak District.
It's a popular spot with climbers, and my job today, well, not so much climber, but faller.
Right, the scenario is, I've been climbing, I've fallen, I've hit the deck hard and I've hurt myself.
They've got to find my injuries, and let me just show you what it is.
Don't panic, it's only a plastic fracture.
So, Mountain Rescue are on their way.
Let's see if they can diagnose my injuries.
Well, I'm lying here, waiting to be rescued, and the weather is closing in, and it really is.
It's cold, it's windy, it's wet and I hope they get here fast.
-Just keep nice and still for me.
-I can't, it hurts.
'While I audition for a bit part in Casualty, one of my rescuers has to find the problem.'
And how's your legs feeling? Is it any one in particular?
..Right, I'm just going to give it a quick feel, OK?
-'And I'm not giving anything away.'
-Everything OK there?
-'..he finds my broken leg.'
-Is it your lower leg or your upper leg that's hurting?
-No, it's the bottom.
-Oh, that's got to sting.
'This may be a practice run for them, but it's vital the team get this right.
'After all, we're on a rock face in the Peaks, and when you fall up here, you need help.'
Helimed 98 receiving, East Mids Control, go ahead.
The patient is meant to be half a mile from the car park
given that grid reference earlier on, and they are looking out for you.
Edale Mountain Rescue are now on route, over.
Today we've been tasked by East Midlands Air Ambulance Service
for a walker who we believe has fallen over and hurt his back.
The weather at the moment is looking a little bit dodgy for getting up onto the Peaks.
Pilot Tim Taylor's job is not just flying the helicopter today,
he has to predict what the weather's going to do, and he's concerned.
We don't want to hang around when we get there.
-We need to get him on board and probably come back to...
As Helimed 98 arrives at Stanage Edge,
the rocky outcrop where the climber has fallen, there's another problem.
-We're just in the realms of every
-waving at us now.
There are of lots of people out today and most of them are waving at the Air Ambulance.
The crew don't know whether it's a greeting or a signal.
Did the Mountain Rescue say they were on scene?
No, they were being activated.
-There they are there.
Finally, they spot the fallen climber and there's no way Tim can land here.
It's too steep and too rocky.
This side of the cabin, mate.
You're OK left.
-OK. I'm taken the bag with me.
-All right, mate.
-I'm going up there.
Pat is going to have to get out of the helicopter as it hovers a few feet off the ground.
All right, we need somewhere to land.
OK, just do a left, mate, do a left.
With Pat out and on his way to his patient, Tim heads to the bottom of the slope to land.
Just trying to contact Pat. He's up on the ridge with the patient.
Pat is exhausted after his steep climb.
I'll try and get my breath back and then examine the patient.
We're time-critical, so I'm trying to get an update
as soon as we can off Pat
to see what the patient's injuries are.
-Well, then, mate. What's your name?
-What's happened, Tim?
-I fell off this.
Climber Tim Ewington has fallen onto his back.
He's in pain, but he can move his hands, which is a good sign.
Can you move all your fingers and toes?
No pins and needles?
No, just basically...
a real sort of sharp pain in the middle of my spine.
Have you got all-in-one clothing or is it trousers and top?
-Trousers and top.
-Down below, pilot Tim's problems are getting worse.
We're running out of daylight and it's starting to get a lot colder
so the fog's starting to form, so we're in a bit of a race
against time at the moment.
We've landed on Stanage Edge, the weather's a bit pants, and...
For an update, Tim calls the pilot of the other Air Ambulance, Andy Figg.
Could you check what's happening with weather at Manchester for us, please?
Andy's at Helimed HQ in Leeds and checks the latest weather charts on his laptop.
Yeah, I think... I think we'll probably have to give him half an hour and then we'll have to sack it.
Back up the hillside, a closer examination reveals that the climber could well have a spinal injury,
but as the weather gets worse, it's looking like the Air Ambulance
is going to have to leave their patient to the Mountain Rescue crew
who are arriving in the car park at the valley bottom.
And all these guys are volunteers.
'Like anyone in the team, we get a lot out of it because of what it is.
'We're all walkers, all climbers.'
We've all had trips and slips,
so it's just simply putting back into the community, really.
Still clear left, mate. Visual with Pat.
If Tim doesn't get away now, the helicopter is going to get stuck in the fog.
As Mountain Rescue head up the slope to fetch the patient down and bring him to the land ambulance,
Tim heads home, picking up paramedic Pat on the way.
Pat's in. Door's not closed yet.
Despite the weather conditions, Mountain Rescue got their patient down and he needed their help.
He had badly damaged his spine.
Back at Curbar Edge in the Peak District,
the team have splinted my leg and are getting me on the way.
The chap's been climbing, come off the route here.
We'll evacuate him back up to the top of the crag.
Although this is just an exercise, you do feel very vulnerable up here.
-Hold it at that.
-UK Mountain Rescue actually began here in the Peaks 100 years ago
when a group of local farmers got together and designed a special stretcher.
What I'm on is the modern day version.
It's called a Bell stretcher, and along with the people who carry it, it's a lifesaver.
And when the call comes in for real, Mountain Rescue are there.
Up in the Yorkshire Dales, a mountain biker has come off and broken his leg.
Helimed 99 has been called in to help get him to hospital.
Pilot Matt Tachin has landed at the top of a hill.
Mountain Rescue are over the other side of the valley and the patient is a short walk away.
I've just come down this hill, come off my bike, cracked my shin on the edge of that.
Howard Jenkins was cycling with his friend Eamon Burke.
We've got a 42-year-old gentleman, he's come off his mountain bike,
he's hit a low wall with his right tib and fib, which has fractured.
Howard's friends Eamon couldn't get a signal on his mobile
when he first called the emergency services,
but now he's overwhelmed by the turnout.
We're very proud of you all.
It's often one extreme to another. There's either just two of us here and the pilot
or we get a football team and its supporters,
so, yeah, it's brilliant that we've got all these people helping us.
It just makes the job a lot safer
and a lot easier for us to get to the aircraft.
This is the reason why Mountain Rescue are here.
Carrying an adult male with a badly broken leg
up a long, steep incline requires a team of stretcher bearers, and all these people who do this
live in the area and do it because they know one day, it may be them needing a lift.
Everybody's a volunteer. They will have either been at work or at home doing things with the kids.
You get disturbed by a beep, beep, beep
and there's a message, and you then ring in to Comms and pick the job up.
Prepare to lift. Lift.
They're all outdoor people and they enjoy doing outdoor pursuits
and they want to give something back.
Howard's on his way out of the Dales and on to Harrogate Hospital.
Back in the Peak District and the Edale Mountain Rescue are still training.
I did some of this in the Army and I've been so impressed by their dedication to the job.
-What sort of backgrounds are you? What do you do for a living?
-I work in construction.
We've got doctors, solicitors, a couple of lawyers, we've got a tax inspector,
outdoor instructors. You name it,
we've got someone from just about every profession.
But when you come into this business,
that gets left behind and you're here to do your specialist role.
-It does. Obviously, we use the medical people because it would be silly not to.
But first and foremost, the team member's the same as everyone else
and they all muck in and then fetch any additional skills to Mountain Rescue that they can.
How many days do you cover a year, then?
-We're on call 24/7, 365 days of the year, basically.
-Even Christmas day?
-Even Christmas day.
We had a call out not a million miles away from here a couple of Christmas Days ago.
Well, Ian, I think you do a really noble job and I take my hat off to you
and thank you, even if it was just an exercise, for rescuing me and wrapping me up nice and warm.
Now, let's catch up on the case of that little girl
who was knocked down by a car after she ran out into the road.
Outside her home in this sleepy village, little Emma Baines had a terrible accident.
Her leg was shattered when she walked in front of a car,
starting a race involving Helimed 99 and its crew to get her to vital surgery.
Her mum, Lindsey, was terrified.
It's two months since the crash and I've come to North Yorkshire
to see how the patient's getting on.
-Hello. I'm Rav. What's your name?
'And if a smile's a good sign, Emma's certainly on the mend.'
Do you want to come in and talk to me? Yeah, come on, then.
Two days afterwards in the hospital, she was sat smiling, playing, colouring in.
Not a bruise on her body, other than her leg.
It was just amazing. She was very, very lucky.
'Emma's leg is now held together by an artificial bone.
'Surgeons were unable to graft her missing bone back on to her tibia,
'but she's recovering amazingly well.'
-These are pins here.
-They go in here.
'Emma was in her first term at school and her classmates were so upset she hadn't made it home,
'they've bombarded her with get well soon cards.
'For her dad, it was a day he'll never forget.'
You were working at home at the time, when you heard this. What must have gone through your mind?
The scream. It's a scream I'll never forget.
I knew it was bad, and probably within five seconds
I rushed out the front of the house
and, obviously, saw a scene of total devastation, you know?
Adults and this little one screaming and...
It's every parent's worst nightmare.
'But nothing's going to make Lindsey feel better.
'She'd been teaching Emma road safety for years, and in one moment, it was all forgotten.'
Now, obviously, there's no way on earth
this was in any way your fault,
but do you find yourself with a sense of guilt,
in some ways, for what happened?
Terrible guilt, yeah. Obviously.
She's my daughter, you don't want to see your child go through
any pain like that, and I question myself.
Was I concentrating? Did I hold her hand tight enough?
And I do the Green Cross Code as I learnt it myself as a child
and I do it every morning on the way to school and it was just another normal day,
holding her hand as normal, and it just happened so quickly.
'Doctors say there's a good chance Emma's leg will heal completely
'and the next big test for her is going back to school.'
At last, the big day arrives, and Emma's returning to the classroom she'd missed so much.
And guess what's on the timetable today. A special lesson on road safety.
If you want to cross the road...
ALL: If you want to cross the road...
..you've got to use the Green Cross Code.
ALL: ..you've got to use the Green Cross Code.
It's one lesson Emma won't be forgetting in a hurry, but sadly,
she's unlikely to be the last young patient Helimed 99 is scrambled to rescue.
When Helicopter Heroes comes back,
there's an air crash and Helimed 99 flies to the rescue.
-How does your breathing feel?
A young driver's in trouble in an upturned car.
Please be careful. Don't let it fall.
Please, camera, traction. A car chase ends with an injured suspect.
He's come from that field, through this field, taking out a tree.
And an unhappy landing for the bird-man who touched down in a tree.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
A girl is knocked down on her way home from school, pilot Steve touches down at a garage to rescue an injured mechanic, and a herd of llamas presents the team with a problem.