Episode 19 Helicopter Heroes


Episode 19

Documentary series. Two buses collide and the team face a life-or-death battle to save one of the drivers. Meanwhile, paramedic Al goes into action as a mountain rescue volunteer.


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Transcript


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If you're seriously ill or critically injured, every second counts,

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especially if you're up high or off the beaten track.

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But thanks to these guys, the people of the UK's biggest county

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are never more than ten minutes from a hospital.

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The Yorkshire Air Ambulance can do 150 miles an hour

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and every day brings a new life or death emergency.

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Five million people depend on these yellow helicopters to bring life-saving care from the skies.

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When a multiple pile-up closes Britain's highest motorway

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or there's an accident on the shop floor,

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the highly trained paramedics and pilots of the Helimed team are there to rescue the casualties.

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Today on Helicopter Heroes...

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Two buses crash and the driver is fighting for his life.

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They're trying to see where his foot's trapped.

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-There's a difficult landing for pilot Tim as the team struggle to reach their patient.

-Hello!

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I don't know where we are.

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The chopper heads into Yorkshire's steel city to rescue a quad biker.

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He's got a possible fractured femur.

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Paramedic Al is battling the blizzards to save people stranded in the snow.

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Some of the Helimed team's most serious cases

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come when least expected.

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They're just as likely to happen when the chopper's busy elsewhere.

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As road accidents go, it doesn't get much worse than this -

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a head-on crash between a coach on the school run and a bus carrying elderly passengers.

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Several people are already on their way to hospital.

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The local ambulance service is treating this as a major incident.

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Newfield is a tiny village ten miles south of Newcastle and is way outside Helimed 98's usual patch.

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But the team has just dropped a patient off at a nearby hospital,

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so they arrive before the locally based Great North Air Ambulance.

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One of the bus drivers is dead...

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The driver of the coach is trapped and while the fire crew struggles to free him,

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it's up to flying doctor Jez Pinnell to assess his condition.

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-Is he talking?

-He is, but...

-Not very much.

-It's best if you have a look, Doc.

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He's going to come in now and see what he can do.

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I've spoken to the officer in charge of the fire service about how long.

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Not sure. So we're going to let him in. If you just tell him what you have to do. Excellent.

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-I'll just go round and get a view from the other side.

-OK.

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The good news is that driver Jack Hall has dropped off his last schoolgirl passenger

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just moments before the accident happened.

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The bad news is he's caught up in the mangled wreckage

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and isn't likely to be getting out any time soon.

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I see what they mean by "well and truly trapped".

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Ambulance-wise, there's probably 25 people here.

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Another few dozen firemen, half a dozen police.

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Two helicopters, two doctors.

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We're just getting rid of the door, so we've got a bit more access.

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Unfortunately, the man driving the other bus was killed in the accident.

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One of his passengers will be taken to hospital by the Great North Air Ambulance

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while the Helimed 98 team focus on the trapped coach driver.

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At the moment, they're trying to expose to see where his foot's trapped.

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Once they've exposed that, they can get him sorted out, so they can pull him out.

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They're having to cut away the vehicle. Crucial timescale.

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Spinal boards here, Jez, ready.

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Spinal boards ready.

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But time isn't on their side.

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Back at base, dispatcher Chris knows Helimed 98 has to take off before it gets dark.

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They've got to be back on the ground a half hour after sunset.

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Even when lives are at stake, pilot Chris Atrill can't break the Civil Aviation Authority curfew,

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designed to prevent accidents.

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I would say we need to be leaving here, worst case...

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..half five. We've got plenty of time yet.

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Driver Jack Hall has now been trapped for 45 minutes.

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But these kind of operations can't be rushed.

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Meanwhile, doctor Jez and paramedic Sammy Wills are trying

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to keep him as comfortable as possible.

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We're just drawing up some ketamine.

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We're looking at putting the patient to sleep.

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He's the driver and he's significantly trapped,

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so this might be a bit of a prolonged entrapment.

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We have no idea how this has happened. It's just carnage, really.

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Because the patient is in a critical condition,

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doctor Jez is planning to perform a procedure called rapid sequence induction.

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This will mean Jack will be anaesthetised

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and have a tube placed down his throat to keep his airway open.

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We're just preparing now to RSI this patient. I'm just drawing up the drugs for Jez.

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As the light begins to fade,

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the Great North Air Ambulance lifts off with the injured bus passenger on board.

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Our challenge also is daylight hours,

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so we don't want to get caught out on the wrong side of it going dark.

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But if needs be, we'll go by... we'll go by land.

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Meanwhile, the Helimed 98 team have to hope the light will hold until their patient is freed.

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We've got a number of options with the way he has to be taken out.

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We can't take him out the front way. We can bring him down the back and out this window.

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If we can fit him through the door, great, otherwise, we'll bring him out the back window.

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Coming up, doctor Jez turns the accident scene into an operating theatre.

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We're going to pop you off to sleep, mate, OK?

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Helimed 98 heads into the city and paramedic Ben Anderson is on the case.

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Possible fractured femur, the long bone in his leg.

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And up in the peaks, there's a tricky mountain rescue.

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Get your breaths in. Come on.

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Thanks to postcodes and computer databases, finding a patient

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who needs medical help is a lot simpler than it used to be.

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But when you're a paramedic 1,000 feet up in a helicopter

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and all you've got is a map reference, things get complicated.

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The old quarries and woods at Conisborough near Doncaster

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are a perfect playground for mountain bikers.

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But when they have an accident, the emergency services often end up playing "hunt the patient".

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Today, Helimed 99 has been scrambled to a cyclist

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who has fallen around 15 feet to the bottom of a ravine.

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We've just had an update from the crew on the scene.

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They've now arrived at the patient

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and he may have chest and back injuries.

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-The ambulance is there now at your seven o'clock.

-Yeah, yeah.

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The dense woodland makes it doubly difficult for the Helimed crew.

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Not only does it block their view of the accident scene,

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but it also means there are very few places to land.

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Yeah, we've put down in a big quarry just down by the canal. We're going to head in...

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Now they're on the ground, paramedic Pete Vallance and doctor Andy Pountney

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are still struggling to find the patient.

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Go another 50 yards, 100 yards and straight up to t'top and there's all hills and woods.

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Nobody's turned up down there with you, have they, Daz?

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We've spoken to the crew. They seem to think we're not far off.

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We're still walking into the woods. No sign of anybody yet.

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Hello!

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We'll give you a call back if we continue to get lost.

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I don't know where we are.

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We're somewhere near...I think probably south-west of Doncaster

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in a fairly densely wooded area looking for a mountain biker

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who's fallen 15, 20 foot. We're struggling to find him.

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We want to make sure we don't walk past the path that they're on.

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Pete's run up into the woods to see if he can see anybody at all.

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Pete is a keen runner in his spare time, so a long hike through the woods is no problem for him.

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Hello!

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And at last, they've tracked the patient down.

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This was 41-year-old Stephen Fullerton's first time biking in these woods

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and it will probably be his last.

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He came down this bridge at this end, slammed on his brakes and went over the handlebars.

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And he landed down here near that tree.

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I couldn't move him. I had to get out on to the main road to find someone to come and get him.

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He's almost certainly broken his collarbone. He's got a lot of pain

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and a crunchy feeling over the shoulder blade and the ribs, so he's probably got some broken ribs.

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You have to worry about the collapse of the lung underneath or any bleeding,

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but he's got good amounts of air going in and out of his chest and his oxygen saturations are fine,

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so we'll just keep a close eye and intervene, should he deteriorate.

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There are now two problems facing the team.

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They need to get Stephen safely out of the deep ravine

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and then they must get Helimed 98 on to the ground in the middle of the woods.

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Coming up, is this a bridge too far for pilot Tim?

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He turns a disused viaduct into a landing pad.

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You wouldn't want to land anywhere smaller than this.

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Jez fears he's losing the fight to save a bus driver.

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He's gone asystolic. Can we give him some adrenaline?

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And the team shelter a patient from a Pennine gale.

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We'll pass this over your head. Kate's going in with you.

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Even though they rarely have time to enjoy the view,

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the Helimed teams spend a lot of their time flying over some of the UK's most beautiful countryside.

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But sometimes they face a tricky mission in an urban area.

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The crew of Helimed 98 have been scrambled to their own back yard.

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From their base at Sheffield Airport, they're heading into town

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to bring pain relief to a man injured riding a quad bike.

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Near where the old cooling towers used to be or as near as damn it, so it can't be far from here.

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This is Britain's steel city with lots of back-to-back housing and industry.

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It's not ideal territory for an air ambulance, but pilot Steve can handle it.

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-Where am I supposed to be looking?

-Down at your three o'clock, that big field.

-The playing field?

-Yeah.

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-Are you all happy in the back?

-Yeah. Looks quite gravelly, doesn't it?

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Just a quick bounce down.

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The quad rider Altaf is in agony and the nearest landing site is a quarter of a mile away.

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Ben's anxious to get his stock of morphine to his patient as soon as possible.

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This is Altaf. He's gone head-on into this car. Been in the standard position at the time.

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It seems as if the collision's happened just here

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where the quad biker's come up the road and collided with the front of the taxi,

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throwing the rider on to the road.

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Paramedics Tony Wilkes and Ben must work quickly to find out what injuries Altaf has.

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Is that painful even to touch now?

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That means he must say goodbye to his designer jeans.

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He's got a possible fractured femur, the long bone in his leg.

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We're going to put a traction splint on

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which will hopefully straighten his leg and reduce any pain he's got.

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Once the splint's on and we get an update from our desk, we'll know what we're doing.

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If you get a fracture of this kind, you get a lot of muscle spasm and a lot of nerve pain.

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This is a very serious injury. Patients with a broken femur can suffer lethal blood loss,

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-so morphine is given to numb the pain.

-You can have a bit more, mate.

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Quads are more common on farms than city streets, but Altaf is a skilled rider and his bike was road-legal.

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He's badly hurt, but it could have been much worse. He wasn't wearing a helmet.

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They are becoming more frequent on the roads, but no particular problem with them generally.

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The road-legal ones are fine.

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-Aaagh!

-The accident's happened not far from Sheffield's Northern General Hospital.

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For all Helimed 98's speed, it will be faster taking him by road.

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Yeah. Roger. He's had a total of 20 milligrams of morphine and he's got a traction splint in situ. Over.

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Altaf's soon on his way to hospital,

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just the start of what turned out to be several months of rehabilitation

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before he was ready to get back on the streets of Sheffield.

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Coming up, mountain biker Simon needs hospital treatment, but how do they get him out of the woods?

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-And a harsh winter puts Al under pressure.

-That Jag's not going anywhere.

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Let's return to the major emergency operation under way

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on a road in Durham after two buses crashed.

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In the village of Newfield near Newcastle, there's been a crash

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between a coach on the school run and a bus with elderly passengers.

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One casualty is on his way to hospital in the air ambulance.

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The driver of the coach is still trapped one hour after the accident.

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We're bringing him straight out the back.

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When he does come out, can you go on to the trolley that's ready? We're going to put him to sleep.

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Right, make a start with his platform.

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It's impossible for fire crews to get driver Jack Hall out of the front of the bus,

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so they're planning to build a platform and bring him out of the back window.

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Paramedic Sammy is preparing a makeshift operating theatre, so Dr Pinnell can put Jack to sleep.

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-Jez, we've just ketamine drawn up.

-That's lovely.

-Do you want any midazolam or anything?

-No.

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-OK, so here you go. That is your kit.

-Lovely. Thank you.

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Jack has head and chest injuries and his trapped foot has almost been cut off,

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so it's better for him to be unconscious on the trip to hospital.

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-Legs!

-Legs!

-Shin straps coming forward.

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-One shin strap up.

-Right, I'm on. Second one up yet?

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But it's by no means certain that he'll be travelling by helicopter.

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By law, Helimed 98 has to be back at base in Leeds soon after sunset and time is running out.

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Chris reckons we've probably only got a maximum of 20 minutes before we need to lift.

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I think we're going to get stuck.

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Ready, brace, move!

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And rest there. Right, just straighten his body up a bit, lads.

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Just keep your hand on his back, so he doesn't fall.

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Jack is strapped to a spinal board

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and it's a tricky manoeuvre to get him out of the bus without jolting him around.

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Any sudden movements could make his injuries worse.

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Keep going, lads, keep going. Well done. Well done.

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Superb.

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Jack, we're going to pop you off to sleep, mate, OK?

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Watch the glass, guys. Watch your glass.

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Can we take his collar off?

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Putting Jack to sleep will help stop his head injury getting worse.

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I can feel that passing through.

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RSI is a complex procedure. Once the drugs have been administered,

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Jack will no longer be able to breathe by himself.

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That's why a tube has to be put down his throat.

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It's a potentially dangerous procedure, even in hospital.

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-Adrenaline!

-Coming up, Jack's heart stops beating. Can the team save him?

-Can we try some CPR?

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And up in the Pennines, there's an unlucky break for a charity walker.

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-This is Lynn.

-Hiya.

-Are you all right there?

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Helicopter pilots hate trees. They're responsible for many crashes

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and landing near them is fraught with danger.

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But in South Yorkshire, pilot Tim Taylor must find a way

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to rescue an injured cyclist trapped in the woods.

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Aagh, me ribs, me ribs! Aagh!

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Mountain biker Stephen Fullerton is laying at the bottom of a ravine with a suspected broken shoulder.

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The dense woodland has made it difficult for emergency services to reach him.

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And now they face the problem of getting him out.

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We're going to take you up to the helicopter and fly you to hospital.

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-You'll need to have some X-rays of your collarbone and your chest and your shoulder.

-All right, sir?

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Helimed 99 is relocating.

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But landing on a viaduct which stands 100 feet high

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and is narrower than the span of the helicopter blades is going to test all pilot Tim's skills.

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-We'll have four at this side and four up top and we'll lift him up. Are you happy?

-Yeah.

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Oh, there's professionals here.

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-Steve's mate is amazed at the emergency service's response.

-They've got a helicopter.

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While Dr Andy Pountney keeps Stephen's pain under control,

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paramedic Pete helps pilot Tim to navigate Helimed 99 on to the disused viaduct.

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It's a tight squeeze.

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One, two, three.

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Nice and steady.

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All right, step over.

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Watch your fingers, guys and girls.

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-Aagh! Aagh!

-Steady, steady.

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It's not the only tricky manoeuvre being undertaken today.

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The Fire Service Technical Rescue Unit have got the job of getting Stephen safely out of the ravine.

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There's the chopper.

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It's the first time Helimed 99 has landed on a viaduct

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and pilot Tim isn't keen to repeat the experience.

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So if you wheel round, so we've got the feet towards the aircraft...

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I wouldn't really want to squeeze in anywhere tighter.

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Fortunately, cos the walls are quite low and the blades are quite high,

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there's no risk of the blades clipping the sides. You wouldn't want to land anywhere smaller than this.

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Thanks to Helimed 99's powerful engines,

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it only takes four minutes to get Stephen to Sheffield Northern General Hospital.

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The same journey by road would take 40.

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At the hospital, he's treated for a catalogue of injuries,

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but two weeks on, he's well enough to return home and continue his recovery.

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I broke my collarbone in several places and I broke six ribs,

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punctured a lung and I was told that one of the ribs

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that broke and punctured my lung

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was extremely close to puncturing my heart,

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so I was very lucky.

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This accident has been a long time coming.

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Stephen's passion for dangerous sports make mountain biking look pretty tame.

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I've done bungee jumping, bridge swinging, caving, rock climbing, mountaineering.

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All sorts. And I fall off a bike and do this!

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So, it's just one of them things, innit? I'll still mountain-bike.

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He'll be off work for at least two months whilst he heals.

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Fortunately, pilot Tim's landing that day was more successful than Stephen's biking.

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I know the viaduct. I thought, "How have they landed here?"

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That was just unbelievable.

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So that were impressive flying.

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"How did you get this on here?!"

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-Try some CPR?

-Coming up: the patient is in cardiac arrest and they're about to lose the chopper.

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Unfortunately, I'm out of daylight.

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Here in the Pennines, we're around 1,000 feet above sea level.

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The temperature is around 3 degrees colder than it is lower down.

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If you have an accident up here, you will deteriorate much more quickly

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and that is when you really need the help of Mountain Rescue.

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Paramedic Al Day gives the Helimed team their Pennine grip.

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He loves the hills and he's the main link with Mountain Rescue,

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the other half of a lifesaving partnership.

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There's a good reason for that. When he's not flying, Al rescues people on the ground

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as a leading member of the Calder Valley Rescue Team.

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We're just on our way up to a couple of vehicles stuck in the snow.

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These roads are only passable by four-wheel drive and it's very cold up here.

0:22:540:23:00

These guys are in a bit of bother, so we'll help them out.

0:23:000:23:04

This is his day off, but you can't keep Al out of trouble.

0:23:040:23:08

A January blizzard has trapped several motorists above Halifax.

0:23:080:23:12

-Will you pull me through?

-No, we'll leave your car here.

0:23:120:23:17

This is dangerous work. The temperature is well below freezing

0:23:170:23:21

and an arctic wind could cause hypothermia in minutes.

0:23:210:23:25

This one's broken down. It'll get shifted to the side.

0:23:250:23:29

Then the guy in the Discovery can get out. That Jag's not going anywhere.

0:23:290:23:34

As well as navigating a hi-tech helicopter, Al's just as happy with a four-wheel drive.

0:23:340:23:41

He knows the moorland tracks that criss-cross the Pennines like the back of his hand.

0:23:410:23:47

We've just had to pull two vehicles out.

0:23:470:23:51

We're still slipping and sliding.

0:23:510:23:54

It's just unbelievable

0:23:540:23:56

that anybody's got up here and tried to carry on through this.

0:23:560:24:01

Al was a volunteer for Mountain Rescue long before he became a paramedic for Air Ambulance.

0:24:020:24:09

He believes each role feeds into the other.

0:24:090:24:13

I've been doing mountain rescue for quite a long time.

0:24:130:24:17

It was great preparation for working on the Air Ambulance. In a lot of ways it's quite similar.

0:24:170:24:23

They're the type of jobs you go into and the fact that you're often away from the road, up in the wilds,

0:24:230:24:29

and having to think on your feet a bit and make stuff up as you go along and adapt stuff

0:24:290:24:36

and change your plans in order to do the best job for the casualty at that time.

0:24:360:24:43

Like Al, thousands of people are in love with the Pennines

0:24:440:24:48

and these peaks that separate Yorkshire from Lancashire have some of the most challenging hill walks.

0:24:480:24:56

Today Helimed 99 is on its way to a hilltop rendezvous with Al.

0:24:560:25:01

Somebody's broken their wrist. Where they are is about half an hour travel

0:25:010:25:08

back down to the land ambulance.

0:25:080:25:11

So it's best part of an hour before they can get them into the warm.

0:25:110:25:17

So we're going to go over there.

0:25:170:25:19

Paramedics Paul and Pete know that even a minor emergency up here can be serious.

0:25:200:25:27

An entrant on a long-distance walk above the town of Todmorden has had an accident,

0:25:300:25:35

1,500 feet up.

0:25:350:25:37

Linda Dean's fallen and broken her wrist. She suffers osteoporosis, a weakening of the bones.

0:25:390:25:45

-This is Linda.

-You all right there?

0:25:450:25:48

Even though he's on his day off, Al has prescribed a flight down from the hills.

0:25:500:25:56

The Todmorden Boundary Walk is a big walking event, about 200 people.

0:25:560:26:01

This lady's been out on the walk, tripped over, fallen onto her arm and broken her arm.

0:26:010:26:07

She's not too bad, but from here it's a fair walk down to the road.

0:26:080:26:13

It'll be quite difficult to get her down without a stretcher, really.

0:26:130:26:17

So we've asked for assistance from the Air Ambulance to make it more comfortable for her.

0:26:170:26:23

These hills are bleak.

0:26:230:26:25

Even in May, you can quickly develop hypothermia up here.

0:26:250:26:30

-Linda's been sheltering behind a monument.

-She does suffer from osteoporosis and had a fall before.

0:26:300:26:36

I looked round and she were down and her wrist has gone right back.

0:26:360:26:41

I don't know if it's broken yet.

0:26:410:26:44

-Can you walk unaided to the helicopter?

-Yes, once I get up.

0:26:440:26:49

We'll leave the Bacofoil on to keep a bit of chill off you.

0:26:490:26:53

-Are you a regular walker?

-Yes. Well...

-Cheers, guys.

0:26:550:26:59

Thank you very much, all of you.

0:27:000:27:03

Pilot Tim Taylor's often the butt of the paramedics' jokes.

0:27:030:27:07

You do know you're flying with him?

0:27:070:27:09

He says he's qualified, but no one's seen his certificate.

0:27:090:27:14

Despite the ribbing, Tim's actually a very experienced helicopter pilot who flew for years with the army.

0:27:140:27:20

His skills will ensure Linda reaches hospital in Huddersfield in a few minutes.

0:27:200:27:26

Once again, Al's saved a casualty of the Peaks a lot of pain and discomfort.

0:27:260:27:33

Linda's wrist was treated and a few weeks later she was back in the hills.

0:27:330:27:38

There are 55 Mountain Rescue teams across England and Wales.

0:27:380:27:42

All volunteers know their patches inside out. That specialist local knowledge makes all the difference

0:27:420:27:49

when someone has an accident well off the beaten track.

0:27:490:27:53

Dr Steve Rowe is another Mountain Rescue volunteer who often flies in the Air Ambulance choppers.

0:27:530:27:59

He's a consultant anaesthetist so his skills are invaluable to both teams.

0:27:590:28:05

It takes a minute or two to kick in. When it does, the pain will get easier, you can breathe easier. OK?

0:28:060:28:13

Today the Helimed team are on their way to the Rivelin Valley

0:28:150:28:19

-where a climbing group from London have had an accident. One has a badly broken leg.

-Aaah!

0:28:190:28:26

This is quite a way from where we were.

0:28:260:28:29

Yeah. I know exactly where it is, but I think where the kids will be playing in the trees,

0:28:290:28:36

it will be hard for us to get down. So we'll see.

0:28:360:28:40

If anybody can do it, Tim, that's you.

0:28:400:28:44

Looking at the valley,

0:28:440:28:46

we've been here before and it's quite difficult to get in and land,

0:28:460:28:51

so it may be that we're not able to offer much support,

0:28:510:28:55

but once we're overhead we'll see.

0:28:550:28:58

-Ambulance coming up t'road.

-Something's down here.

0:28:580:29:02

Pilot Tim Taylor has little choice. He must land at the top of the valley and let his colleagues hike.

0:29:020:29:09

Helimed 99. We're on the ground down at Rivelin.

0:29:090:29:14

I don't think we've had an update.

0:29:140:29:16

We're going to have to walk a couple of hundred metres to get to this guy.

0:29:160:29:21

We'll update you when we're on scene with him. Over.

0:29:210:29:25

Paramedic Pete knows he has a difficult climb ahead of him with a heavy rucksack,

0:29:260:29:32

-but at least he has a guide.

-Hi, there! Do you know the best place to come down?

0:29:320:29:38

Here?

0:29:390:29:41

29-year-old Ian Bell has fallen more than 20 feet.

0:29:410:29:45

His femur, the biggest bone in the body, is broken and he's in agony.

0:29:450:29:49

-This is Ian. He's fallen about five metres. Conscious throughout.

-Hi, Ian. Just relax.

-Aaah...!

0:29:490:29:56

-Breathing rate is 30 at the moment.

-Aaah!

-Equal expansion both sides of his chest.

0:29:560:30:02

He's got pain in his chest. There's no crepitus at the moment.

0:30:020:30:06

-His pulse is 64.

-Oh, my leg...!

0:30:060:30:09

-Is it OK there, Ian?

-A little pain.

-Got any salts, guys?

0:30:090:30:14

Ian's mates dialled 999 and got a response few patients can even dream of.

0:30:140:30:20

I'll just check your pulse.

0:30:200:30:22

As well as a helicopter and crew, there are two ground paramedics,

0:30:220:30:27

a fully-equipped Mountain Rescue team and two doctors, including Helimed regular Dr Steve Rowe.

0:30:270:30:35

Look at that, Steve.

0:30:350:30:37

Oh, right.

0:30:370:30:39

Ian's in a bad way. As well as his broken leg, they fear he may have damaged his spine.

0:30:410:30:47

-Aaaah!

-Ian? Ian?

0:30:470:30:50

Breathe in. Steady breaths in.

0:30:500:30:53

That's better. Nice, steady breaths.

0:30:530:30:57

The painkilling gas is helping, but Ian needs something stronger.

0:30:570:31:02

Dr Steve has the answer - a nerve block which numbs his leg.

0:31:020:31:07

Ian, you've got a needle in this arm so try to keep it nice and still.

0:31:070:31:12

He was in pain. I've done a nerve block on his leg.

0:31:120:31:17

It will hopefully numb his leg. It's not fully working yet,

0:31:170:31:21

but he's quietened down a fair bit. We can get his splint on.

0:31:210:31:25

The hardest bit is to come. Ian's leg must be straightened with the traction splint.

0:31:250:31:31

Right, we've got to put some splints on, Ian.

0:31:310:31:35

We'll put one around your waistband and tie the belt

0:31:350:31:39

and then a splint on your leg to pull it straight.

0:31:390:31:43

But this rockface is treacherous. The last thing the team need is another accident.

0:31:430:31:49

Good lad. OK.

0:31:490:31:52

We're going by road to the Northern General.

0:31:520:31:56

-Ready, steady, lift.

-Aaaaah!

0:31:560:31:58

Ian is slid onto the rigid spinal board for his trip to hospital.

0:31:580:32:03

Set to go onto the stretcher?

0:32:030:32:06

It is awkward here. We've got crags up above us and it's steep below.

0:32:060:32:11

But the road isn't that far,

0:32:110:32:14

which goes straight into Sheffield.

0:32:140:32:16

Have you got enough bodies there?

0:32:160:32:19

It's too dangerous to carry him back up to the helicopter.

0:32:190:32:23

He's not far from Sheffield Northern General.

0:32:230:32:27

He'll be going by road.

0:32:270:32:29

This is where Mountain Rescue teams come into their own. Most of the volunteers have climbed here

0:32:290:32:36

and they know the best route down. Ian will soon be in hospital.

0:32:360:32:40

Surgeons repaired his femur and he was sent closer to home,

0:32:400:32:45

but it will be some time before he climbs again.

0:32:450:32:50

The Arctic conditions of New Year 2010 meant the Air Ambulance and Mountain Rescue were relying

0:32:500:32:56

on each other's skills more than usual.

0:32:560:32:59

Climbing to 1,000 feet.

0:33:040:33:06

We're bound to a place called Froggatt, which is approximately 10 miles south-west of Sheffield.

0:33:060:33:12

The worst of the winter weather is behind us, but up in the Peaks there is still snow on the ground.

0:33:120:33:20

Not only that, but today there's a bitter wind causing temperatures to plunge even lower.

0:33:200:33:26

It's a really nice area, beautiful, and because of that we get a lot of walkers up there.

0:33:260:33:32

Occasionally, they get into trouble

0:33:320:33:35

and find themselves like this poor chap with a broken leg.

0:33:350:33:39

Helimed 98 has been scrambled to a 64-year-old who's stranded on the top

0:33:390:33:45

of windswept Stanage Edge.

0:33:450:33:48

It's Edale Mountain Rescue team.

0:33:480:33:50

-I'll see if anyone is talking.

-OK.

0:33:500:33:53

-If it's just a normal fracture, we can relocate to the ambulance.

-When a walker has an accident here,

0:33:530:34:00

there's a much higher chance of hypothermia, which can be fatal.

0:34:000:34:04

-Is that somebody down there?

-Yeah.

0:34:040:34:06

-They're waving.

-64-year-old Leo Cortz was out walking with his wife and friends

0:34:060:34:13

when he fell and broke his ankle.

0:34:130:34:15

Helimed 98, landing on scene. Over.

0:34:150:34:19

Even though Leo is wearing good warm clothing, his body temperature will drop extremely quickly

0:34:190:34:25

unless he's protected from the icy wind.

0:34:250:34:29

-I slipped and my foot went under me.

-Right. Which foot? This one here?

0:34:290:34:33

-I don't know if it's broke or sprained.

-The best way to protect Leo is to put him inside a tent

0:34:330:34:40

-called a bothy bag.

-This is where we get to keep you out of the wind and it gets lovely and warm.

0:34:400:34:47

We're going to pass this over your head. Kate's going in with you.

0:34:470:34:51

And then I need you to hooch your bottom up a little bit.

0:34:510:34:56

-Quite intimate, isn't it?

-It is!

0:34:560:34:59

Helimed 98 to Edale. Pass your message. Over.

0:34:590:35:03

'Morning. Just seeing what the situation report is up there. Over.'

0:35:030:35:08

The familiar voice on the radio is Mountain Rescue Dr Steve Rowe.

0:35:080:35:13

'All the usual kit's on its way up and should be with you in 5-7 minutes. Over.'

0:35:130:35:20

Roger that, Steve. Thank you.

0:35:210:35:24

Now just stay nice and still.

0:35:240:35:27

Leo says he has a high pain threshold, but he still needs some morphine.

0:35:270:35:33

-Have you ever had morphine before?

-No.

-No.

0:35:330:35:36

All right.

0:35:360:35:38

What we'll do, with you being relatively comfortable, we'll just give you a bit and see how you go.

0:35:380:35:46

Sometimes it can make people feel a bit dizzy and horrible. If that happens, just let me know.

0:35:460:35:52

'Pain management he's tolerating.'

0:35:520:35:55

The next bit, although it's only 10 metres to the aircraft,

0:35:550:35:59

because of the rocks, snow and ice

0:35:590:36:02

we're waiting for Edale Mountain Rescue to come and support us

0:36:020:36:06

and we'll carry him to the aircraft.

0:36:060:36:09

-Sounds like a party out there!

-It does, doesn't it?

0:36:090:36:13

Working on the road, you get used to working in weird conditions and just doing the best you can,

0:36:130:36:20

but it's quite odd in here with this strange, orangey light.

0:36:200:36:24

It's quite atmospheric, but...

0:36:260:36:28

Now Mountain Rescue are here, it's time for Leo to leave his warm and snug bothy bag.

0:36:310:36:38

The back of my head's been rubbing against this tent for 20 minutes.

0:36:380:36:42

I think there will be a static explosion when we get out!

0:36:420:36:46

There we go, Leo.

0:36:460:36:49

A vacuum splint will keep Leo's leg still and stable during the move.

0:36:490:36:53

There's an ambulance waiting on the road below, but rather than being carried on a stretcher,

0:36:540:37:01

Leo's going to get a lift in the helicopter.

0:37:010:37:05

When we take off, it's really noisy. I won't be able to hear you.

0:37:050:37:09

So just wave if there's a problem.

0:37:090:37:12

OK?

0:37:120:37:14

Leo's ankle is broken, but it's not a time-critical injury.

0:37:140:37:19

And, in any case, the nearest hospital doesn't have a helicopter landing pad,

0:37:190:37:25

-so it makes more sense to take him by road.

-Beautiful.

0:37:250:37:29

We're down!

0:37:290:37:31

OK, yeah?

0:37:310:37:33

Dr Steve Rowe is waiting near the land ambulance.

0:37:330:37:38

-He's been directing operations by radio.

-I've been controlling.

0:37:380:37:43

I knew the Air Ambulance was on scene,

0:37:430:37:47

so we just assisted with the carry. Now it's over to the land ambulance and free the helicopter up again.

0:37:470:37:53

When Leo gets to hospital, doctors confirm that he's broken his ankle.

0:37:530:37:58

Although he's now back on his feet, it'll be a while before he attempts another ambitious winter walk.

0:37:580:38:05

You'll be glad to hear all our patients are recovering well.

0:38:060:38:10

Now a bus driver badly injured when he collided with a coach is clinging to life.

0:38:100:38:16

His only hope is a high-speed trip to hospital.

0:38:160:38:20

Can you give him some adrenaline, please?

0:38:200:38:24

On a road in County Durham, flying doctor Jez Pinnell is fighting to save his patient.

0:38:240:38:30

-Shall we start some CPR?

-Yeah.

0:38:300:38:32

His heart has stopped beating.

0:38:320:38:35

Thanks to the team's prompt action, Jack Hall's heart is restarted, but could stop again at any time.

0:38:350:38:43

-Adrenaline, 1 in 10,000.

-Thanks. Just give him a couple of mils.

0:38:430:38:48

He's just been freed from the mangled wreckage.

0:38:480:38:51

He has serious head and chest injuries and his foot may have to be amputated.

0:38:510:38:58

He's not a very well man at all. This is just to keep him asleep.

0:38:580:39:03

Because it's taken so long to get Jack out, it's almost dark.

0:39:030:39:07

Pilot Chris Atrill has had to make a hard decision.

0:39:070:39:11

Unfortunately, I'm out of daylight. I've got enough to get back to Leeds,

0:39:110:39:16

but unfortunately I can't carry the crew and patients.

0:39:160:39:20

Under the UK's tough aviation laws, Chris has no choice. He has to fly home alone.

0:39:200:39:26

We'll take him to Newcastle. He's not able to go by air, which is unfortunate for him

0:39:260:39:32

and frustrating for us.

0:39:320:39:35

Reluctantly, pilot Chris heads back to Leeds, leaving Paramedic Sammy to travel with Jack by road.

0:39:350:39:41

It's been a tremendous team effort, great co-ordination.

0:39:410:39:46

Em, a very tragic accident, though. Very, very tragic.

0:39:460:39:50

But hopefully this gentleman will get there and make good progress.

0:39:500:39:56

I hope.

0:39:560:39:58

It's 10 miles by road to Newcastle General Hospital.

0:40:000:40:04

Doctors will be able to establish how serious Jack's head and chest injuries are.

0:40:040:40:09

They'll also decide whether he'll lose his foot.

0:40:090:40:14

It's nearly three months since Jack had his terrible accident

0:40:140:40:19

and his fiancee Michelle Dixon makes her daily visit.

0:40:190:40:22

Jack broke both arms and seven ribs. He also had to have an amputation.

0:40:220:40:27

-Did physio go again?

-Yes. 8.30 until 9.

0:40:270:40:32

-Right.

-And she wondered why I wasn't smiling!

0:40:320:40:36

'He was lucky not to be crushed.'

0:40:360:40:39

He was lucky just to lose part of his lower right leg.

0:40:390:40:43

I'd rather that than lose him.

0:40:430:40:46

Jack still doesn't feel comfortable talking about the accident. When he finally came round,

0:40:460:40:53

he'd lost his memory. He couldn't even remember he was engaged to Michelle.

0:40:530:40:58

He knew the face, he knew me, but didn't realise we were a couple.

0:40:580:41:03

He couldn't remember that at first.

0:41:030:41:05

I sort of said, "You do know we're engaged?"

0:41:050:41:10

And he went, "Are we?" And I went, "Yes, we are!" and showed him the engagement ring.

0:41:100:41:16

He went, "All right, OK. I can't remember that," but I brought some photographs in to show him,

0:41:160:41:23

so he could have a look. He'd seen our engagement pictures and our cake.

0:41:230:41:28

He just couldn't remember it, but he'd seen it.

0:41:280:41:32

Although Jack can recognise family and friends, he can't remember the accident.

0:41:320:41:38

Michelle's just glad he's alive.

0:41:380:41:41

What the ambulance crew did for Jack, I will never be able to thank them enough.

0:41:410:41:48

That's how the family feel.

0:41:480:41:51

And his friends.

0:41:510:41:53

Because, to me, without them we wouldn't have Jack now.

0:41:530:41:57

So I'll...

0:41:580:42:00

I'll never be able to thank them enough.

0:42:000:42:04

When Helicopter Heroes comes back:

0:42:050:42:07

the family day out ends in a car crash and a passing mum turns medic.

0:42:070:42:12

They asked if we had a First Aid kit.

0:42:120:42:15

A man loses his fingers in a factory accident. Can Paramedic Sammy save them?

0:42:150:42:21

There's so many nerve endings.

0:42:210:42:23

A cyclist is badly injured.

0:42:230:42:25

I'll just pop you off to sleep.

0:42:250:42:28

And the swimmer who didn't look before he leapt.

0:42:280:42:32

Subtitles by Subtext for Red Bee Media Ltd - 2010

0:42:400:42:44

Email [email protected]

0:42:450:42:47

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