Episode 5 Helicopter Heroes


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Episode 5

Rav Wilding presents the series following the work of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. A climber falls from a rockface in the Derbyshire Peak District.


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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

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biggest county are never more than 10 minutes away from a hospital.

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The Yorkshire Air Ambulance can do 150 mph

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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 a serious 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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there's a dramatic mountain rescue after a climber falls 40 feet.

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And move, nice and steady, nice and slow.

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Snow ruins a family Christmas as Grandma is flown to hospital.

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It's either find her own transport

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or try and thumb a lift from Father Christmas.

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There's a dash to save the driver of a car that has plunged into a canal.

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No sign of any person at this time. Still investigating.

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And a tot is burnt by a mug of hot chocolate.

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The arm is red so it could be first degree as well.

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Welcome to Derbyshire

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and one of the UK's most stunning national parks.

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The Peak District is one of the most popular places in the world

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for rock climbing, which means plenty of work for these guys.

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Like the Air Ambulance, Mountain Rescue on call 365 days of the year,

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but they are all volunteers, which means they don't get paid a penny.

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At 3.5 miles, Stanage Edge is the longest

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and most impressive stretch of gritstone in the Derbyshire Peaks.

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And although Mountain Rescue are experts at getting injured climbers and walkers

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off its most inaccessible crags, they often rely on the Helimed team

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to whizz them the final few miles to hospital.

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Today, climber Mark Stone has fallen the height

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of three double decker buses, almost 40 ft onto rocks,

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and lived.

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Helimed 98 has been scrambled.

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People who survive such a long fall can suddenly deteriorate and die.

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-Fallen how far?

-15 metres.

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That's going to hurt.

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Finding a casualty from 500 ft is difficult.

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There's somebody waving down there, can you see him?

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Yeah. They are just waving.

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-Are they?

-This looks like the meeting point.

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We've got somebody in HV back up here.

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HV is high-visibility.

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A dash of Day-Glo up here usually means someone's in trouble.

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There's someone in HV sat up on the rock.

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This is the closest the helicopter can get.

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If Mark suddenly deteriorates, he's a long way from the chopper,

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down a boulder-strewn slope and paramedic Kate Drye knows it.

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-How old are you, Mark?

-36.

-36.

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In climbing language, this rockface is described as very severe.

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Mark is an experienced climber.

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He knows he's seriously hurt, but is willing himself to be calm.

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He was leading the climb straight up that slab, went up no problem.

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Getting up to just where there's a bit sticking out

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and hadn't got any gear in at that point.

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He came back off, landed on the ledge, but then toppled backwards

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and came back over, off it.

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So, sort of hit himself quite a few times on the way down.

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Mountain Rescue know this is a serious incident.

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Among the 14 volunteers are two doctors.

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We're getting the next phase ready which will be to get the stretcher,

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a special bell stretcher that we use, essentially because it's indestructible

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and then a vacuum mattress, which is a full body splint.

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Mark was tackling the face of Stanage with Angela Paul.

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Now, Angela has to alert his friends and family.

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She's trying her best not to give away the seriousness of the situation.

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All right, mate. I'll see you shortly.

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All right then, bye.

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Mark is in danger. The team know adrenalin can often

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carry injured climbers through the minutes after a serious fall.

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Does it make any difference at all, do you think?

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My shoulder seems to be getting worse...

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But his pain is worsening and the team can't rule out a spinal injury.

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Coming up - the tricky rescue operation begins.

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I could do with as many of you as possible.

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Form two parallel lines and pass the stretcher between us.

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Helimed 98 is scrambled after a car careers into an icy canal.

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Set up a stretcher and have a bit of a mini resus area.

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And I'm on patrol with a medic

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who cares for some of the UK's most remote villages.

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The arm is red so it could be first degree as well.

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What could be better than a white Christmas in a beautiful place like the Yorkshire Dales?

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But one family's festive season in a snowbound cottage high in the hills,

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wasn't as idyllic as they expected.

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It's just 48 hours to Christmas and they've got the festive feeling at Helimed headquarters,

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not that there will be much rest for some of the pilots and paramedics.

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Helimed 99 is about to be scrambled by Dispatcher Chris.

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It's a lady

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who's having central chest pain, but the problem they have got

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is the land crew that are going on it

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are finding it difficult to get through to the patient.

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North Yorkshire's shops are packed with people stretching their plastic to the limit

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and many are visitors here for a traditional Christmas in a holiday cottage.

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But for one family staying high in the Dales, the first white Christmas in more than a decade

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has ended in a medical emergency.

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We've got an ambulance crew that's on its way

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to this location and they're stuck in the snow and can't move anywhere.

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We're going to go to the scene where we can get onto the ground.

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The hills of the Yorkshire Dales are swathed in snow with drifts up to

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four feet deep blocking roads, which means Helimed 99 is the only hope

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for a family celebrating Christmas in a remote moorland cottage.

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It's back over the grid now.

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In the middle of that field, by the telegraph pole.

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They've just walked out...

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That it could be him, actually, looking at that.

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The team's mission is to a farm on the borders of Yorkshire and Lancashire.

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For pilot Matt, this is a tricky job.

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Fresh snow will create a blizzard as soon as the downwash from his rotors

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hits the ground. He must touch down quickly or be blinded.

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I'll taxi a bit over towards that pole.

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I'll be pulling up, vertically up and straight to the left to get away from those trees.

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-OK, mate. Two feet.

-Thank you.

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One foot.

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The Skelton family from Essex are spending Christmas in the country

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but Gran, 77-year-old Elizabeth, is unwell.

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She's got a pacemaker and she's 77.

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I think the cold and the journey and everything...

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She's been having chest pains in the night.

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-Hello.

-Hello.

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I'm Tony from Air Ambulance.

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We're here because of all the snow basically.

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What we're going to do, Elizabeth, while we're getting

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a history from you, we're going to connect you to a monitor and

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check your heart and everything.

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You'll have done all this before, won't you?

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-Not by these handsome men!

-Steady.

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We decided we'd come away for Christmas

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so we could keep everyone together because Mother lives on her own now.

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She woke me up this morning at about 8 o'clock saying she'd had a really bad night with chest pains

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and a very bad headache. She was feeling groggy and poorly and felt she needed medical attention.

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What I'm going to do is have a look at your arm and if we can,

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pop a needle in and if we need to give you painkillers, we can do.

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-Sorry about this.

-That's all right.

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I phoned the doctor in Settle and he explained the situation.

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He said he'd come out and do a home visit.

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The receptionist called to say it was chest pains

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and they'd have to send the ambulance out. The next thing we know,

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the ambulance was stuck in the snow so they are having to send out the Air Ambulance.

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Elizabeth has had heart trouble for years and now her third pacemaker appears to be playing up.

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-Take your arm out of your jumper.

-Yes.

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You've got a few layers on.

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I had these on in bed!

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-SHE LAUGHS

-That's how cold it was!

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-It's us southerners, you see.

-Well, I wasn't going to say that!

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Me and Tony are naked under these suits because we're hardy Yorkshiremen!

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-We're tough in some places.

-Yeah...

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Darren and colleague Tony Wilkes wire her up.

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The print-out charts Elizabeth's heartbeat and it's not good news.

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We've completed 12 EDCG and observations

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so we're going to pop her onto the roof at LGI and then it's just into the emergency department.

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Getting Elizabeth to the helicopter isn't going to be easy.

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What do you think she's going to be like between me and my mate just walking steadily?

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We're not going to jog across. We're just going to take a start.

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-I've put a hat on me. I bet I look funny.

-You've put a hat on?

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-I thought she'd stolen the tea-cosy!

-Right, Elizabeth, arm in arm.

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Right. We're just going up this way. Follow that chicken initially.

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Elizabeth needs hospital treatment, and with the local roads snowed up,

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Helimed 99's the only way to get her there.

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Let's have a little breather.

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-Are you with us?

-Yes.

-No, have another breather because we like you to have another one.

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The family have spent several hundred pounds and driven more

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than 200 miles for a traditional Christmas in beautiful surroundings.

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With Christmas Eve tomorrow, they now face saying goodbye to the eldest member of the party.

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This is certainly a change of plan to what we thought.

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We were going to be going to Skipton market and browsing all the stalls.

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And instead of that, well, that's not quite what we'd anticipated.

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That's the way it goes, isn't it?

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They're putting a brave face on it, but both Elizabeth and her daughter know she faces a lonely

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Christmas in a strange hospital many miles from home or her family.

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Coming up - Christmas comes and there's no sign of a thaw.

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Will it be a hospital turkey for Elizabeth?

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I take on the rock face that almost killed climber Mark.

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40 feet looks a long way down.

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Just landing on the scene.

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And a Dales farmer's badly injured by a friend on a quad bike.

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Pushes his foot on to the accelerator rather than the brake and then hit him

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with the quad vehicle, which has bull-bars on it.

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Like most counties, Yorkshire's ambulance control rooms can call in specialist paramedics

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trained in urban search and rescue, infectious disease control

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and even disaster management.

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But sometimes they face a situation even they are unprepared for.

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Sunday morning at the air ambulance base in Sheffield.

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While most of us are having a lie-in, the Helimed Team are ready for action.

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They don't have to wait long for the first call.

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A 4x4 is into the canal.

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..Inside the vehicle. We've informed patrol that you're en route.

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A 4x4 has plunged into a canal near Gall in East Yorkshire

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and there could be someone trapped inside.

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'Yorkshire Air Desk, Helimed 98. Message, over.'

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Roger, have you got an update for us? And also, have we got

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a hospital choice if we do end up going, over?

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Yeah, Roger, your hospitals are Doncaster Royal 11 Nautical,

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Scunthorpe 11,

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'York District and then Castle Hill and Pinmouth Hill, over.'

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We're en route for reports of a vehicle,

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a 4x4, that has gone into a canal

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and is now believed to be sinking.

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We're not sure if anybody's trapped in the car at this time

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so we're airborne to help out when we get there.

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Canal water is freezing cold all year round,

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so falling in is dangerous, even for a strong swimmer.

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The added complication in this kind of weather is with cold water,

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you get something called swim failure,

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where if you're not used to being immersed in cold water,

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your body goes into a kind of shock state,

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and even really competent swimmers just find it impossible to swim.

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Ambulance crew just going, pulling up.

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There's also a safety issue for the paramedics.

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When they're near water, they have to wear lifejackets.

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We've sent Al forward.

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He's already booted and suited. With his jacket on.

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Thermal imaging equipment should indicate if there's anyone inside the car giving off heat.

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-That's the only reason to be getting off.

-No sign of any personnel at this time. Still investigating.

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The sad thing this day and age, I'm just a bit bothered that that's covering up something.

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-Do you know what I mean?

-Yes, absolutely.

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Even though there doesn't seem to be anyone alive in the car,

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the emergency services can't take any chances.

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-The helicopter was on its way as far as I'm aware.

-There it is.

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If someone's escaped from the car, the police chopper should find them.

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But there's miles of canal bank to search.

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What the police are doing now are just going up and down both bankings

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to check for any heat sources if somebody has managed to scramble out.

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With submersion, particularly in cold water,

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your body can go into a kind of hypothermic sort of

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state, where your heart rate slows right down.

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You can survive for quite prolonged periods of time

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submerged in cold water. Certainly over, you know, up to an hour.

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Firefighters aren't allowed to dive, but they should be able to feel

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if anyone is trapped in the driver's seat.

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We'll just go into the water and check.

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We're going to feel around and check that there's nobody

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round this car, underneath the water or underneath the car.

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Well, we can't be 100% certain that there isn't somebody in the front of the vehicle.

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It's all beginning to look like a false alarm.

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There's a load of nuts on the front seat.

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It looks like it is definitely...

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We'll bring some kit, set up a stretcher and have a mini resus area,

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and then we'll load and go if there is somebody down there.

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Is the front windows open?

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INDISTINCT COMMENT

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Eventually, the police decide the car must have been abandoned,

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perhaps after a crime. It's been an expensive wild goose chase.

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The fire brigade are committed - they have men in the water.

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The police are committed for continuity so they need to follow this whole incident through.

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And there must be, what, nearly 20 people here on the bank now.

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We've felt around with our feet in the foot well. We couldn't find...

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We're pretty certain now there's nobody in the car.

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And before most of us have finished that Sunday morning lie-in,

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some very cold and very wet members of the emergency services are on their way back to base.

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Coming up, a grandmother faces Christmas without her family as the snow maroons their holiday cottage.

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Got a bit of a cold. And he's got a wheeze.

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And a poorly little boy gets help from the skies.

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This is Stanage Edge in Derbyshire.

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Every year, thousands of people come here to climb.

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That rockface there is the Manchester Buttress, and climber Mark Stones,

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who we heard about earlier, had almost reached the top when he fell.

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Despite plunging 40ft onto rocks, Mark is alive, but he's in severe

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pain and mountain rescue doctors fear he may have damaged his spine.

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These peaks claim lives every year.

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But many, like Mark, regard the risk as part of the thrill

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of taking on some of Europe's best climbs.

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They're philosophical when an accident happens.

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You can limit the dangers, I guess,

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just by being as careful as you can.

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But, yeah, it is a dangerous sport.

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But there's also...

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a thrill that goes along with it, which is why we do it.

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All right? Just pop this collar, on here. All right, mate.

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If you come this side...

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-Mark will be immobilised for his flight to hospital.

-We could do with as many of you as possible.

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We'll form two parallel lines and then pass the stretcher between us.

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But the pain is increasing.

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Has that morphine had any effect, do you think?

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Erm...

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Not a great deal. That's still it.

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My shoulders are getting really, really bad now.

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Paramedic Kate usually works

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in the gently rolling hills around urban Wakefield.

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This is an unfamiliar emergency for her.

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Just stood back and let these guys do it because they're the experts.

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They've got quite a tight team,

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so I'm just carrying shoes down the hill.

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There's never any shortage of volunteers

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when it comes to rescuing victims of climbing accidents up here.

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Everyone knows they could be needing help tomorrow.

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And move. Nice and steady, Nice and steady, nice and slow.

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There's no rush.

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Nobody wants to see anybody get hurt and when somebody is misfortunate, they do tend to rally together.

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We are fortunate to have people assist us with the incidents that we deal with.

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For all its beauty, the Peak National Park begins in the outskirts of industrial Sheffield.

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And today, that's good news for the Helimed team's patient.

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At 150 miles an hour, Mark will be landing at the Northern General Hospital in less than five minutes.

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There was just this almighty crack, which I thought was his head.

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Coming up, Mark arrives at hospital

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and the full extent of his injuries is revealed.

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And this is a beautiful place to live,

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but if you need a trauma unit, it's an hour by road.

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You need local knowledge to get to the patient

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because sometimes you just can't get up the steep inclines.

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Now, let's return to the family facing a white Christmas in the Dales without Gran.

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She's been taken ill suddenly and now six-foot snowdrifts

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are threatening to separate her and her family at the most important time of the year.

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High in the Dales, paramedics Darren and Tony have made a decision that could ruin a family's Christmas.

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They're flying 77-year-old Elizabeth Oxlade to hospital,

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leaving her relatives snowed in at their remote holiday cottage.

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Wave to your fans, Liz!

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Elizabeth and her family travelled from their home

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in Essex for a Christmas break in the Yorkshire Dales.

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During the night, she felt unwell and Darren and Tony fear her pacemaker is malfunctioning.

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We're transferring this lady to the LGI in the centre of Leeds.

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We'll take her down straight to the emergency department where she'll be seen

0:20:500:20:55

by the doctors and nurses. They'll give her a thorough examination.

0:20:550:21:00

I feel sorry for her relatives who've got to make their way to Leeds to come and visit her,

0:21:000:21:04

either to pick her up or to stay overnight.

0:21:040:21:07

As you can see out of the window, these country lanes are absolutely snowed in.

0:21:070:21:12

Unfortunately, we won't be able to take her back there.

0:21:120:21:15

So it's either find her own transport

0:21:150:21:17

or try and thumb a lift from Father Christmas.

0:21:170:21:21

Even if she's fit to be released, it could be a very lonely Christmas for Elizabeth.

0:21:210:21:24

She's putting a brave face on her emergency flight

0:21:250:21:29

and few people get to experience the dramatic landing in the heart of Leeds City Centre for themselves.

0:21:290:21:35

-Did you enjoy your flight?

-It was worth not being well for that!

0:21:350:21:39

Don't be telling anybody!

0:21:390:21:41

This type of weather, the helicopter comes into its own, really. It's really nice to be able

0:21:430:21:48

to give a hand to the land crews who are obviously struggling

0:21:480:21:51

a lot at this time to get to where the patients are,

0:21:510:21:55

especially out in the isolated country locations.

0:21:550:21:59

Even if Elizabeth is given the all-clear,

0:21:590:22:02

because of the state of the roads,

0:22:020:22:04

she might not be able to get back to the holiday cottage

0:22:040:22:07

to enjoy Christmas dinner with her family.

0:22:070:22:10

Doctors at the LGI examine Elizabeth within minutes of her arrival in A&E.

0:22:120:22:17

They decide her pacemaker is doing its job and she can return to her holiday cottage.

0:22:170:22:22

The following day, after a tricky drive on freshly ploughed roads,

0:22:240:22:28

the family are reunited, just in time for Christmas.

0:22:280:22:31

Seven weeks later, and Elizabeth is back home in Essex.

0:22:360:22:40

She and daughter Hazel are recapturing the festive spirit,

0:22:400:22:44

but with turkey sandwiches rather than a full Christmas dinner.

0:22:440:22:48

I have pains in my chest.

0:22:480:22:50

I knew that I had to have it... I had to be looked at.

0:22:500:22:55

The doctor said he was going to have to call out the paramedic to come to you at the holiday cottage.

0:22:550:23:00

She said, "They're going to be coming, but they might be a while because the weather is so bad."

0:23:000:23:06

The phone rang again and they said, "Unfortunately that paramedic got stuck in the snow.

0:23:060:23:11

-"They can't get to you..."

-The snow was so deep!

0:23:110:23:14

The phone went again and it was the doctor saying that they'd got stuck in the snow as well!

0:23:140:23:19

"The only option now is to send the Air Ambulance.

0:23:190:23:22

"They're the only ones that can get through." It just seemed a bit surreal.

0:23:220:23:26

Waving to this helicopter with Mum in it going off to Leeds hospital!

0:23:260:23:32

It wasn't at all the plan we'd had for the holiday.

0:23:320:23:34

It was just totally the opposite of what I'd hoped would be happening.

0:23:340:23:38

He lifted up and it was just...

0:23:380:23:41

so smooth.

0:23:410:23:42

Not bumpy. I wasn't scared.

0:23:420:23:44

Then when they get to a certain height, they suddenly shoot forward.

0:23:460:23:50

Incredible feeling.

0:23:500:23:52

Elizabeth's granddaughter Kate was able to capture a rare shot

0:23:520:23:56

of the Air Ambulance taking off in the snow.

0:23:560:23:59

It moves forward - incredible feeling.

0:23:590:24:02

Unlike most patients who travel in the Air Ambulance,

0:24:020:24:06

Elizabeth was able to sit up and look out of the window.

0:24:060:24:09

It wasn't actually a heart attack...

0:24:090:24:14

..but it was probably stress that was caused.

0:24:150:24:18

Maybe through walking the previous night in the thick snow,

0:24:180:24:23

carrying a heavy bag, I had pulled a muscle or strained myself,

0:24:230:24:28

and that's what had caused it.

0:24:280:24:30

They were very thorough and put my mind at rest

0:24:300:24:34

and made sure that I was really fit enough to go back.

0:24:340:24:38

In the end, Liz was able to get back and join her family for Christmas dinner.

0:24:380:24:43

-It all had a happy ending luckily.

-Thanks to...

0:24:430:24:46

-Thanks to the helicopter heroes!

-Helicopter heroes!

0:24:460:24:50

Coming up, climber Angela returns to the rockface that almost killed her mountaineering partner.

0:24:520:24:59

He hit the bottom with an almighty crack.

0:24:590:25:01

Imagine living here in the Yorkshire Dales, some of Britain's

0:25:060:25:10

most beautiful landscape right on your doorstep.

0:25:100:25:13

But if you have a serious accident, it can be an hour's drive to your nearest major trauma centre.

0:25:130:25:19

And if that happens, the person you really want to see...

0:25:190:25:23

is this guy.

0:25:230:25:25

Pete Shaw is a community paramedic.

0:25:250:25:28

He works from the local doctor's surgery, bringing emergency health

0:25:280:25:31

care to around 3,000 people living around the market town of Leyburn.

0:25:310:25:36

He's among the most regular users

0:25:360:25:39

of the Air Ambulance, for obvious reasons.

0:25:390:25:41

Roads like this must make your job a nightmare. How do you find people?

0:25:410:25:46

Part of the problems we have are the narrowness of the roads, the road conditions, the weather conditions.

0:25:460:25:52

We have a high influx of people during the summer - tourists

0:25:520:25:56

with caravans and suchlike, which slow us down a little bit.

0:25:560:26:00

It's high summer and Helimed 98 is on its way to help out Pete

0:26:010:26:05

and a very young holidaymaker.

0:26:050:26:08

'You're going to Reeth bakery

0:26:080:26:11

'where a five-month-old male

0:26:110:26:15

'has been scalded by hot milk.'

0:26:150:26:17

Unusually in this age of mobile phones, the call has come from a phone-box.

0:26:180:26:22

But then signals tend to be unreliable in this part of the world.

0:26:220:26:26

'Helimed 98, just south of Rosebury, got a task in the Richmond area.

0:26:260:26:30

'I'll be routing west with that location. I'd like to go on route with Teesside.'

0:26:300:26:35

A young family on a walking holiday stopped at a cafe for a drink when disaster struck.

0:26:350:26:40

Their baby grabbed hold of Mum's hot chocolate and burned himself badly.

0:26:400:26:44

Bremington and Reeth,

0:26:440:26:46

and Reeth is the last of the three that are close together.

0:26:460:26:50

The village green in Reeth makes a great landing site

0:26:510:26:54

for pilot Andy Lister, and the helicopter causes quite a stir.

0:26:540:26:59

All looks good my side. Site appears to be secure.

0:26:590:27:01

Ground paramedic Pete has already calmed baby Joel down and the local doctor is also there.

0:27:040:27:09

-How are you?

-Fine. How are you?

-Nice to see you.

-And you.

0:27:100:27:13

-How we doing?

-Little lad.

0:27:130:27:15

Dr Dawson's in the car. I've given him some Calpol.

0:27:150:27:18

Little lad put his arm into...

0:27:180:27:20

hot chocolate. Difficult to tell with the rest

0:27:200:27:22

of the arm because it's red, so it could be first degree as well.

0:27:220:27:26

-Hello!

-He's a lot calmer, isn't he?

0:27:260:27:29

Yes, magic Calpol!

0:27:290:27:31

Magic Calpol.

0:27:310:27:32

He seems to be fairly happy.

0:27:320:27:35

What we'll do is wait while the helicopter's sorted

0:27:350:27:37

then we'll bob you in a seat in the helicopter, just sitting up.

0:27:370:27:40

He seems fairly happy so we won't disturb him too much.

0:27:400:27:44

We won't start poking at him or anything. Pete's already done a good job, so we'll leave it at that.

0:27:440:27:49

This is Joel's first holiday with Mum, Dad and his sister.

0:27:500:27:54

They'd been staying at a youth hostel for a few days,

0:27:540:27:57

but it looks like they might spend their last night in hospital.

0:27:570:28:01

-He's definitely lost a proportion of skin.

-Hello, little man!

0:28:010:28:04

-What's your first name?

-This is Joel.

0:28:040:28:07

-Hello, Joel!

-Joel's young ears must be protected from the roar of Helimed 98's jet engine.

0:28:070:28:12

Squash them first and then they expand to fit his shape.

0:28:120:28:16

There we go, Joel. Excuse me, little man.

0:28:160:28:18

Beautiful Joel, five months old, has got a scald to his arm.

0:28:180:28:23

Because it potentially goes all the way round, we don't want it to swell

0:28:230:28:26

and compromise his circulation to his hand. So we're ready to go.

0:28:260:28:31

As they begin the journey to the James Cook Hospital,

0:28:340:28:38

mum Deborah is a little bit nervous.

0:28:380:28:40

But Joel is taking the whole thing in his stride.

0:28:400:28:42

In fact, he's so chilled out, he falls asleep in the helicopter.

0:28:420:28:46

Hello, gorgeous.

0:28:500:28:53

He's had a little sleep on the way in.

0:28:530:28:55

The land paramedic already on scene had already dressed and covered up

0:28:550:28:59

the wound, so we haven't seen the scald.

0:28:590:29:01

But treatment had started and Joel was quite comfortable,

0:29:010:29:04

so comfortable he fell asleep on the flight!

0:29:040:29:07

They made a good job of dressing it on the scene so we've not done anything with that.

0:29:070:29:11

We've left it as it was, just literally transported him

0:29:110:29:14

to James Cook Hospital, and the consultant is looking at him now.

0:29:140:29:19

Hopefully there are no major problems and he should be discharged later today.

0:29:190:29:23

But it's winter when Wensleydale becomes the most difficult place to work.

0:29:250:29:29

The holidaymakers may have gone, but the weather up here is harsh.

0:29:290:29:32

Some parts of Pete's patch are nearly 2,000 ft above sea-level and the snow can last well into spring.

0:29:320:29:38

Snow can be quite difficult.

0:29:400:29:42

Sometimes the roads get cut-off completely and you can't get through.

0:29:420:29:45

We are about 1000 ft higher than the Vale of York so they may have rain,

0:29:450:29:50

we'll have snow and ice.

0:29:500:29:52

Some of the roads are quite steep so you have to have local knowledge to take alternative routes to get

0:29:520:29:58

to the patient because sometimes you just can't get up the steep inclines.

0:29:580:30:02

Sometimes, if that doesn't work, the locals are very helpful.

0:30:020:30:05

We'll throw some kit into the back of the Land Rover or on the back of record to get to the incident and

0:30:050:30:10

have the foresight to think, "We'll have trouble getting the patient out

0:30:100:30:13

"so let's get the helicopter and get them airlifted direct", which is a good resource to have.

0:30:130:30:18

It's February and Helimed 98 is heading up to Pete's patch again.

0:30:200:30:24

The paramedic up there, he works one of the loneliest patches in North Yorkshire.

0:30:240:30:29

Quite isolated. He's on his own quite a lot.

0:30:290:30:32

We've got reports of a gentleman who has been trapped against a wall by some farm machinery.

0:30:320:30:37

It is the end of the worst winter in 30 years in the Dales.

0:30:370:30:42

Some roads were blocked for days by snow

0:30:420:30:44

and farmers faced losing valuable livestock.

0:30:440:30:48

It was the quad bike that kept many in business.

0:30:480:30:50

But now that the snow has gone, one farmer has discovered the downside of the quad.

0:30:500:30:55

The gentleman was working in a field about half-a-mile from here

0:30:550:31:00

and a guy with a quad-type vehicle came and spoke to them,

0:31:000:31:05

pushed his foot on to the accelerator rather than the brake

0:31:050:31:08

and hit him with the quad vehicle which has bull-bars on it.

0:31:080:31:11

It impacted with his lower legs and and ankles.

0:31:110:31:14

'Roger, have you got an ETA?'

0:31:140:31:16

98, 20 seconds.

0:31:160:31:17

98, just landing on scene.

0:31:200:31:22

Pete has called in the Helimed team because his patient badly needs surgery.

0:31:220:31:26

Both legs are crushed and infection is a real risk.

0:31:260:31:30

It is difficult to say. Definitely one.

0:31:300:31:32

The other one doesn't look as bad,

0:31:320:31:35

but he says it's painful so, you know...

0:31:350:31:39

-Treat as both.

-Treat as both, yeah. He's changed his mind about the pain relief.

0:31:390:31:43

-He wants something a bit stronger.

-They've got morphine on board.

-They've got morphine.

0:31:430:31:47

William Atkinson is in agony.

0:31:470:31:50

This land ambulance would take an hour to reach a trauma centre.

0:31:500:31:53

Helimed 98 will take 15 minutes.

0:31:530:31:56

Ready, steady, lift.

0:31:570:31:59

WILLIAM GROANS

0:31:590:32:01

William's wife and son raced to see him when they heard about the accident.

0:32:030:32:07

Thanks to paramedics like Pete,

0:32:070:32:08

medical help does come quickly, even in remote areas like this.

0:32:080:32:12

But not every patient gets a high-speed trip to surgery.

0:32:120:32:16

He's been extremely unlucky, William.

0:32:190:32:21

He's been on his farm and a relative of his

0:32:210:32:25

has lost control of a heavy quad bike.

0:32:250:32:27

He's got fractures in both ankles at the moment. He's been quite lucky.

0:32:270:32:31

Although it's a nasty injury, he's been very lucky, really.

0:32:310:32:34

William is one of many Dalesman with good reason to thank the Helimed team and local paramedic, Pete.

0:32:340:32:40

It's rare for a month to go by without him calling in a helicopter and it's largely down to geography.

0:32:400:32:46

The vehicle that you use is great for getting you

0:32:490:32:51

to a patient, but transporting the patient is another matter.

0:32:510:32:55

This vehicle get us to the incident, but then we need the foresight to think about calling

0:32:550:32:59

in the Air Ambulance and we have a good working relationship with the Air Ambulance staff.

0:32:590:33:03

Sometimes they will phone me directly and ask me if they are needed.

0:33:030:33:07

We are on first-name terms!

0:33:070:33:10

Many homes in Wensleydale are holiday cottages owned by people

0:33:120:33:15

from the big cities keen to grab a slice of country life at weekends.

0:33:150:33:20

But the Dales are still home to a hardy local population, including pensioners who remember

0:33:210:33:27

the area around Leyburn when sheep-farming dwarfed the tourist trade.

0:33:270:33:31

They often need Pete's expert medical care.

0:33:310:33:34

Today he has been called to the house of a 94-year-old man whose nose won't stop bleeding.

0:33:380:33:43

-You're a bit bruised, Jim.

-Yeah, I bruise easily.

0:33:430:33:46

-Do you know what brought it on?

-No.

-Have you knocked yourself?

0:33:460:33:50

-Just sat here reading.

-Right. When did you fall?

0:33:500:33:54

I didn't fall. I just bruise easily.

0:33:540:33:56

-Right.

-On the back of my hand.

0:33:560:33:58

-OK.

-It swelled up.

0:33:580:34:00

It has swollen up, hasn't it?

0:34:000:34:02

Jim has a history of nosebleeds.

0:34:020:34:04

I'm just applying a bit of direct pressure to the gentleman Jim's nose

0:34:060:34:11

just to see if I can...

0:34:110:34:12

stem the bleeding.

0:34:120:34:14

If I can't get it to stop, then I will have to take Jim down to Darlington Memorial Hospital.

0:34:150:34:20

This is one of the potential side-effects of taking blood thinning drugs.

0:34:210:34:26

Unfortunately, I've been unable to stop the bleed so he will have to go to Darlington Memorial Hospital.

0:34:260:34:32

Jim's nose bled all the way to hospital and he was kept in for several days.

0:34:330:34:38

Meanwhile, Pete is on another job.

0:34:380:34:41

It is a patient who has fallen off a bike and has a head injury.

0:34:410:34:46

That's all the information I've got so I suspect it might be a push bike.

0:34:460:34:50

It actually turns out to be more unusual than that.

0:34:500:34:53

Removal man Eamonn Barton was lifting something out of his van

0:34:530:34:57

-when a bicycle balanced on top fell on his head.

-Can't see a definite cut.

0:34:570:35:01

-Looking good.

-Oh, there's a little bit...

-Oh, yeah.

-What's your first name?

0:35:030:35:07

-Eamonn.

-Right, Eamonn, what we're going to do...

0:35:070:35:11

This looks a bit sinister, but it's not. It's a blunt needle.

0:35:110:35:14

I'm going to turn it into something like a jet wash

0:35:140:35:17

and just flush the top of your head just to flush anything out so you might get a bit wet.

0:35:170:35:21

-OK.

-All right?

0:35:210:35:23

Once Pete has cleaned the wound, he can see it's deeper than he first thought.

0:35:270:35:31

It's open enough to glue it.

0:35:310:35:32

-It would benefit from closing it.

-Yeah.

0:35:320:35:35

If we don't close it, you've got a bit of a gap.

0:35:350:35:38

-It's not drastic, but you've got a gap and if we don't close it...

-Infection.

0:35:380:35:42

We're going to go up to Leyburn.

0:35:420:35:44

Eamonn will be taken to the local medical practice. He won't have stitches.

0:35:450:35:49

Instead, the wound will be glued together with special adhesive.

0:35:490:35:53

Here in the Dales, even a relatively minor illness

0:35:560:35:59

can mean the services of the Air Ambulance are needed.

0:35:590:36:02

Often, a 999 call involves someone on holiday from the city

0:36:030:36:07

with the problem that would be routine at home, but potentially life threatening here.

0:36:070:36:12

A weekend at Gran's cottage in the country means fun for the average three-year-old, but Jacob Lawson

0:36:150:36:20

is not enjoying his stay - he's suddenly become ill.

0:36:200:36:23

The words "floppy" and "baby" don't sit well together.

0:36:230:36:27

It could be any one of a number of things. You know,

0:36:270:36:30

meningitis, he could have some sort of febrile convulsion.

0:36:300:36:33

They are heading for the tiny community of Redmire.

0:36:330:36:36

It is going to be the big field to the north side of where the ambulance is.

0:36:370:36:42

-It's past the bungalows, isn't it? Definitely there.

-OK.

0:36:430:36:46

Jacob's medical history is an added concern for the Helimed team.

0:36:460:36:50

Hiya, Pete. How are you doing?

0:36:500:36:53

Pete has already pieced it together.

0:36:530:36:56

GCS was three when I got here until I pinpricked him.

0:36:560:36:59

-Then it went up to 15.

-Great stuff.

0:36:590:37:01

These are the grandparents. The parents are on their way to London.

0:37:010:37:04

So... They are in London so they called us in.

0:37:040:37:08

Jacob has been through a lot in his short life, including open-heart surgery.

0:37:080:37:13

No wonder Gran and Grandad are concerned.

0:37:130:37:16

Peter and flying paramedic Al are going to play it safe.

0:37:160:37:20

Jacob is going to hospital for an expert opinion.

0:37:200:37:23

-Right, are you ready?

-Right. OK.

0:37:230:37:25

Jacob's gran and grandad moved to Redmire to become more

0:37:250:37:29

self-sufficient, but the downside of living up here is the isolation.

0:37:290:37:34

The nearest major hospital is more than 40 miles away in Middlesbrough.

0:37:340:37:38

Gran is going with Jacob to reassure him.

0:37:390:37:42

He still thinks he's going by road.

0:37:420:37:44

Nanny in my car.

0:37:440:37:47

No, this isn't a car.

0:37:470:37:48

This a helicopter, isn't it?

0:37:480:37:50

We are inside one. We were looking at them this morning, weren't we, flying through the sky?

0:37:500:37:56

Let me adjust this so it is the right size for your little head. There we go.

0:37:560:38:01

-There! We've got headphones on.

-Jacob has been thrown direct from the heart of Wensleydale, the valley

0:38:030:38:09

famous for its cheese, to an appointment with heart specialists at the James Cook hospital.

0:38:090:38:15

How are you doing, Jacob?

0:38:150:38:16

Are you all right?

0:38:160:38:19

Is this fun? Yeah.

0:38:190:38:20

For local paramedic Peter, it's another successful case.

0:38:220:38:26

The Helimed team makes sure a patient quickly gets expert care

0:38:260:38:30

and he can carry on caring for the people of the Dales.

0:38:300:38:33

Jacob is not complaining either.

0:38:330:38:35

He has perked up thanks to an unexpected ride in a helicopter.

0:38:350:38:40

Did you enjoy that, Jacob?

0:38:400:38:42

Despite the worry his illness caused his gran and grandad, not to mention

0:38:420:38:46

mum and dad on a weekend break in London,

0:38:460:38:49

Jacob soon recovered and continued his break in the Dales.

0:38:490:38:54

You'll be pleased to hear all Pete's patients are on the mend.

0:38:560:39:00

Let us get back to the Derbyshire Peak District where a very enthusiastic climber

0:39:000:39:04

is desperate to get back to the rock face.

0:39:040:39:08

Mark Stones has been flown to Sheffield's Northern General hospital with multiple injuries

0:39:090:39:14

after surviving a fall that would have killed most climbers.

0:39:140:39:17

But he is not out of the woods yet. Over the next few days,

0:39:170:39:20

surgeons operate on his shattered leg and shoulder.

0:39:200:39:24

But despite falling 40 ft from the forbidding Manchester Buttress

0:39:240:39:28

in the heart of the Peak District, they can find little else wrong with him.

0:39:280:39:34

Back on the rock face, Mark's climbing buddy, Angela Paul will never forget the day Mark fell.

0:39:340:39:39

He landed on the ledge and was like this for a couple of seconds.

0:39:390:39:43

I thought he was going to be fine and then all of a sudden he just tumbled backwards. Just stumbled over.

0:39:430:39:49

Somersaulted a couple of times

0:39:490:39:51

and hit the bottom with an almighty crack.

0:39:510:39:54

It's six months since Mark had his accident

0:39:560:39:59

and now he's returning to Stanage Edge for the first time.

0:39:590:40:03

I climbed the first bit,

0:40:030:40:05

got to the ledge, got to the second bit to the crack.

0:40:050:40:08

I had one hand here, one near the top.

0:40:080:40:11

It was wet so I took a hand off to get a grip and the next thing, I'm just falling.

0:40:110:40:15

I remember tumbling back.

0:40:150:40:17

I could see black, white as I was tumbling down and I felt my face smash.

0:40:170:40:21

I thought, "I should be dead or unconscious, but I'm not."

0:40:240:40:27

I got up and come and sat down.

0:40:270:40:30

I took my shoe off and I saw my foot.

0:40:300:40:32

-I knew it was broke.

-All I could see was all this blood coming from his face and I thought, "Head injury."

0:40:320:40:37

Then he said, "Oh, my foot really hurts, my knee really hurts."

0:40:370:40:41

A lot of the blood from his face...

0:40:410:40:42

Because he had bitten through through his knee as it turned out.

0:40:420:40:47

So, as you fell, your teeth actually hit your leg?

0:40:470:40:51

Yeah, that's when I felt the smash.

0:40:510:40:53

The Derbyshire mountain rescue volunteers know this area inside out.

0:40:530:40:57

As soon as Angela spoke to them, they were on their way.

0:40:570:41:00

As soon as I said, "We're just next to Manchester Buttress," they knew exactly where to come.

0:41:000:41:05

It was brilliant because we saw them pull up and they came running up the hill, which amazed me.

0:41:050:41:11

They had two massive great rucksacks and they were running!

0:41:110:41:14

I'd walked up here and nearly had a coronary when I got here!

0:41:140:41:18

Very few people who fall 40 feet onto rocks survive without a major disability.

0:41:190:41:23

But the prompt medical treatment he received from Mountain Rescue Doctor Steve Rowe

0:41:250:41:29

and his colleagues probably made a big difference to his recovery.

0:41:290:41:33

When we got to see Mark, he'd walked a little way from the edge

0:41:330:41:37

but said his heel was very, very painful, couldn't rested on the floor which made me suspect

0:41:370:41:41

he had a fractured heel bone which later turned out to be the case.

0:41:410:41:45

He'd also dislocated his shoulder, had a nasty gash on his knee

0:41:450:41:50

which I think he got from his teeth going into it as he fell.

0:41:500:41:54

Hopefully, your injuries are certainly on the mend,

0:41:550:41:58

but you can get the shoulder back to full fitness.

0:41:580:42:01

Has it put you off climbing or will you climb again?

0:42:010:42:03

-Yes, once I've had it sorted it out, yeah.

-So, you will be leading him from now on, Angela!

0:42:030:42:08

When Helicopter Heroes comes back...

0:42:090:42:12

..there's a serious farm accident and a nine-year-old boy is fighting for his life.

0:42:130:42:17

He's climbed over it, swung on it and pulled it down like that!

0:42:170:42:21

A Yorkshire horse whisperer is trampled by a bucking bronco.

0:42:220:42:26

His legs were up in the air and his head was on the floor.

0:42:260:42:29

Helimed 99 lands on the lawn after a visitor runs over a friend.

0:42:290:42:34

I was holding my hand!

0:42:340:42:36

And the team rescue a cyclist who came off at 60 miles an hour.

0:42:360:42:41

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:42:530:42:56

E-mail [email protected]

0:42:560:42:59

Rav Wilding presents the series following the work of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. A climber falls from a rockface in the Derbyshire Peak District, and in the Dales a family faces a white Christmas without gran after she is flown to hospital with a heart problem.