Episode 17 Helicopter Heroes


Episode 17

Rav Wilding follows the work of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. A major search operation is launched for a pilot trapped in his wrecked cockpit.


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Transcript


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If you're seriously ill or critically injured up here,

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your life is in real danger.

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Complaining of severe pain.

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Mid-thirties, been ejected from a vehicle.

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Hospital's an hour away by road

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and speed is the only thing that can save you.

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Yeah, Roger. Helimed 99's en route to you, over.

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The Yorkshire Air Ambulance and its highly trained paramedics

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are scrambled 1,000 times a year.

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-Tell me exactly what's happened.

-A small child was on the path.

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A wagon's cut the corner and run over him.

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Many of its ex-military pilots flew the SAS into action.

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That's not a suitable landing site, this one here is.

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Welcome to the life-and-death world of the Helicopter Heroes.

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Today on Helicopter Heroes...

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'I'm in a field in a ditch. I've crashed through a hedge.

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'I'm stuck in the cockpit of a glider.'

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A glider pilot crashes but the team can't find him.

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A boiling hot day so he'll be hot, let alone in pain.

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A young cyclist has a terrible accident.

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We've come down for a bit of fun and it's ended in a bit of tragedy.

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The Romans are back

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and there's a legion of problems for the Helimed team.

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Four casualties at this time, over.

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And boys will be boys but paramedics have to pick up the pieces.

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He fell on a rock and I fell on top of him and squashed his chest.

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How's this for a thrill?

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We're soaring like a bird with no engine to keep us in the sky.

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Gliding is as near as you can get to growing wings.

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We're soaring on invisible currents of warm air

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but this is a sport that has its dangers too,

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as one pilot found out this summer.

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The sky over the Vale of York

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is one of the UK's busiest pieces of airspace

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and today it's even more crowded than usual.

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The airfield at Sutton Bank is the venue

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for a national gliding competition

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but there's an emergency.

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It's a glider that's come down somewhere up near Stokesley.

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Basic service, Helimed 98. I'll set 2,000 and fly when I'm clear.

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Luckily, the Helimed team has a base at Bagby,

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in the shadow of Sutton Bank and its famous white horse.

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Paramedics Tony Wilkes and Paul Kilner

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are on the way to search for the downed pilot.

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'Ambulance, what's the address of the emergency?'

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'I don't know. I'm in a field in a ditch.

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'I crashed through a hedge. I'm stuck in the cockpit of the glider.

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'The last I saw, I was 14km roughly north of Carlton.'

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Initially, we've got Carlton in Cleveland.

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We were given a grid for that.

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That's almost in Teesside Zone then, really.

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The glider pilot comes from Sussex

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and isn't familiar with the rolling Cleveland hills

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where he's come down.

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Not a lot of information at the moment except the glider's come down,

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we think, in a field. Hopefully we'll get updated on the way

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and get more information sent through.

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Because we are up very high and we might have gliders,

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everyone keep your eyes peeled for them.

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'Have you got GPS in your glider?'

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-'Yes, I have.'

-'You have got GPS.'

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'I can't reach it.

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'Ah! I can't.'

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'You can't reach it.'

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He said there's a road north of him in the field

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so that could be the road.

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Back at Helimed headquarters, flying paramedic Sammy Wills

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is trying to put herself mentally in his cockpit,

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working out where he may have landed.

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Initial reports from the patient was that he was trapped by his ankle

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and the way he described his instruments in the cockpit,

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they were smashed up around him and some had been thrown out of the cab.

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It's a boiling hot day so just being trapped by the Perspex as well.

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He'll be hot, let alone in pain.

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'Are you actually on a farm?'

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'Yeah.'

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'So, is there...? How far are the buildings to you?'

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'I really don't know, I'm in a hedge.

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'I'm right beside a road, a bicycle just went past.'

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'Can you try and get their attention?'

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'No, I can't, because it's a very thick hedge.'

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On the ground, ambulance crews have joined the rescue operation.

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Pilot Andy Lister used to fly for the police.

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He's used to searching from the air.

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A large, white glider shouldn't be too hard to find.

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Right, I will suggest, even from now we should start

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peeling our eyes back and having a look for gliders in fields, really.

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Finally, they spot a glider on the edge of the search area.

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Ah, there he is!

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Well spotted, mate.

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-Yeah, one o'clock?

-Yeah.

-Got it.

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Durham-Tees Radar, Helimed 98 now letting down.

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The puzzle is, this glider doesn't look damaged.

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Perhaps the pilot has freed himself.

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-Doesn't look like there's anyone in it.

-No, there isn't.

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-You want me to go on have a look?

-If you want, mate.

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It's the wrong glider.

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Somewhere in the 200 square miles of search area,

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an injured pilot is still awaiting rescue,

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trapped in his cockpit under a hot summer sun.

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The Helimed team must find him.

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There are some symptoms which ring alarm bells with paramedics.

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Among them, a back injury,

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when combined with loss of feeling in the legs,

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is probably the most worrying.

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It's a bright summer's day

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and the paramedics are en route to Conisbrough near Doncaster.

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Joe Hamshaw has fallen

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while attempting a massive jump on his mountain bike.

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How you doing, Joe?

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We were out on our downhill bikes.

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We've come down for a bit of fun and it's ended in a bit of tragedy.

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He hit that jump there, hit it a bit fast,

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gone a bit fast and fell off his bike.

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Did you physically see him come off?

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-Yeah.

-Right. What happened?

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Went over a 20-foot jump and went over the handlebars.

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Helimed paramedic Glen Powell finds Joe with a land ambulance crew

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in the valley bottom and it isn't looking good.

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-What's his pain score now?

-Four.

-Right.

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Lack of sensation in his plantar reflex.

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-None?

-None.

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No sensation, movement or anything?

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Joe's dad Steve has arrived.

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He got a phone call and rushed down to try to help his son.

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Yeah, my ex-wife rung me and she says, "Can you get to him,

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"he's had an accident down at Steetley's."

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And I found him, like, with the ambulance team,

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who was doing a tremendous job.

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Can I leave you guys to get him on board and everything, yeah?

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Paramedic Glen is very worried.

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Joe doesn't know it, but he may have severed his spinal cord.

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The risk is that he may never walk again.

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He's come down quite a steep gradient, like a one in three or one in four.

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Witnessed by some bystanders who've been cycling in these woods.

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He's flown past them at some speed, taken off on a jump,

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landed it and then gone down and accelerated further

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and gone over another jump.

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He landed wheel-first on his bike, flipped over the handlebars

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and landed flat on his back doing 30 miles an hour.

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The team needs to get Joe out of the woods quickly

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but work carefully to ensure there is no further damage

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to the delicate spinal cord.

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Right, Joe. We're going to move you in a second, buddy. All right, mate?

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Right.

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He's pretty experienced.

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He's been doing it a few years now.

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He's a sensible lad normally.

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I think he was a little bit silly coming on his own.

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He's usually a sensible lad but he probably weren't thinking.

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Probably thought it wouldn't happen to him and it has.

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If you got the fire brigade, there's a gate at the top.

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You can cut that open and get down here with an ambulance.

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But there's a problem.

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Joe is deep in the woods,

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hundreds of metres from the nearest road or landing site.

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Pilot Steve Cobb is moving Helimed 98 to get closer to their patient.

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It's quite steep out left.

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Is everybody happy going to the left?

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-Yes.

-If anybody is not happy at any time, just say.

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Joe's dad is showing the strain.

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He knows his son is very seriously injured.

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It's a hot day and the physical exertion of the climb

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out of the woods is affecting him too.

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Little steps. Everybody happy?

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He's beginning to lag behind.

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For now, all the attention is on his son.

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But that's about to change.

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Got a second casualty. There's a guy collapsed!

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Few jobs have changed as much as those in the ambulance service.

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When many of the Helimed team first put on a uniform,

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they were simply expected to drive and give first aid.

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Now they can inject drugs previously restricted to doctors

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and even perform surgical procedures.

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But if you really want to trace medical progress,

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you have to go back to the days of the UK's first trained medics.

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They conquered Britain nearly 2,000 years ago

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but now the Romans are back.

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CHEERS

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These make-believe Romans spend their weekends

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showing 21st-century Britons what life was like

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when we were just an outpost of a vast empire.

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These re-enactment groups pride themselves

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on always staying in character, no matter what happens.

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But today a group of visitors have been badly injured

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by a stampeding horse.

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It's the sort of accident that could have easily happened back in 55 BC,

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but the treatment is coming from a very modern flying machine.

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Horses, eh? A big horse event.

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Going to cause even more chaos, aren't we, if we're not careful.

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You wouldn't get me on the back of a horse for £1 million.

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Incredibly dangerous things.

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It's clear this Roman camp has already been invaded

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by a fleet of modern ambulances.

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Several spectators have been struck by the runaway horse.

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Hiya. We've just got one lady here

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but there's three more over there who might be more injured.

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Just making my way around four casualties at this time, over.

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These two guys, I've never seen him yet.

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This guy's...

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-Did you have your leg stood on, mate?

-Stood on it, yeah.

-Yeah.

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And this lady's got some hip pain.

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Watch your arm, Jean, just going to put this round you.

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I saw this horse running up towards my kids so I tried to grab the rope.

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-Right.

-I managed to hold it for a little bit.

-Oh, well done!

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It's jumped over my daughter's head.

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And just pulled me and as I've landed,

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its back legs have landed on my...

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Query possible, one fractured leg and...

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a lady with minor, minor head injury

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and another query, very query dislocated hip and one low back pain.

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This bizarre accident happened when the legionnaire's horse

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came face-to-face with some very modern 21st-century fencing.

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We were watching some Roman centurions

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being put through their drill in the field.

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The horse, apparently someone was feeding it grass,

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and it leant over and touched the electric fence and panicked

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and cantered in a big circle all the way around,

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jumping people and pushchairs and tents.

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All the legionnaires and gladiators have come to help,

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including Richard Berry, who's been doing this re-enactment for years.

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It takes a lot for these groups to step out of character,

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but here everyone's now firmly back in 2011

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to help the modern-day medics.

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There don't appear to be any serious injuries at this horse event.

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Two more ambulances have been requested.

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So we are back online available for further tasking.

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The patient I was dealing with says the horse

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jumped over his two children, a two and a four-year-old.

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Could have been a very, very different story.

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So as the Helimed teams soar back into the sky,

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the re-enactment continues.

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Good shot!

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Everything at these events is as it would have been

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when the legions first set up camp in Britain.

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So much better than the normal javelin.

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But today, the Helimed team aren't yet finished with the first century.

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Funnily enough, we're going back to where we where earlier in the day.

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It sounds like somebody at the same event is having a heart attack.

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So we're off back up there

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so that event will have two visits from us in a day,

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which is fairly intensive.

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They say all roads lead to Rome and pilot Andy Lister's

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landing back in exactly the same spot they were in just hours earlier.

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For paramedic Sammy Wills, things are very familiar.

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I've been here before!

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You must have deja vu.

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Yeah! What's he got now, pain-wise?

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Not good. He started off at five but I think he's actually getting worse.

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Knock, Knock. You wouldn't happen to be Richard, would you?

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-Are we keeping him on the leads as we're going down?

-We are, yeah.

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Earlier in the day,

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Richard had been in the arena, taking part in a mock battle.

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Then he was helping those kicked by the horse.

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Now he's needing urgent treatment for a heart attack.

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-How are you feeling now, Richard?

-Pretty rough.

-Pretty rough.

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In fact, we'll just pop you back on to the monitor

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and then we'll take you down to the aircraft, all right?

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Our plan, Rich, is to fly you.

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All right?

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Of course, in Roman times, Richard wouldn't have stood a chance.

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It's likely this would have quickly lead to death,

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so today he's happy to leave his centurion character behind

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for a flight in Helimed 99.

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Yeah, just relocated the patient to the ambulance.

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We're going to drive down, I'll come down and meet with you.

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If you could have the defib and the pads on standby, over.

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AMBULANCE BEEPS

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The gentleman looks really uncomfortable.

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He's never actually had a heart attack beforehand

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but he does suffer from angina.

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He's had quite extensive cardiac surgery.

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The pain's come on while he's been exerting

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and he's still quite uncomfortable.

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It's fair to say the Helimed paramedics

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have seen some sights in the back of their helicopter

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but it's not often you get someone dressed quite like this.

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This is not a dress, it's a tunic.

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You've been re-enacting, haven't you?

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I've been re-enacting.

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So I overdid it in the heat and everything.

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In modern-day Britain, medical technology is on Richard's side

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and he's soon being flown to a specialist cardiac hospital,

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which'll be able to treat whatever is causing his heart to struggle.

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And while in Roman times, Richard might have been treated

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with wine, vinegar or a hot bath,

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in modern Britain he's able to take full advantage

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of the latest cardiac treatments.

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I've had stents before in two coronary arteries.

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And they, for some reason, clotted, both at the same time,

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which is really quite rare.

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That's why it happened so quickly.

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They said it wasn't because of the exertions and things I was doing.

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They just really don't know and they're looking into it,

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why suddenly both of them clotted.

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So it was very touch and go.

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I think I went into VF a couple of times and they shocked me back.

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Although doctors aren't convinced the two emergencies were connected,

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dealing with a Roman stampede must have put a strain on Richard's heart.

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I heard behind me just people running, a lot of noise.

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I turned and as I turned, I saw this horse running through the crowd.

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Just then, the horse clipped one of the rope barriers

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and I saw it hit this lady on the side of the head.

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She went down very heavily.

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I just shot over there because I thought if the horse comes back,

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at least I've got some armour on and I can protect her head,

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and try to protect her that way.

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But no-one expected the helicopter's second visit to the same place.

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And he was certainly an unusual patient to be carried in Helimed 99.

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They've taken the Michael quite a bit.

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Most of my armour was off and that was sent home

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but I did have my cingulum militare, which is the belt

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and one of the nurses was walking around

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with my dagger and my belt on, going, "Look at this."

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About five times too big for her.

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Then they were taking the knife out and having a good look at that

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so we've had a laugh.

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It's all gone home now. It's all back home.

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For now, Richard will be just reading about,

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rather than recreating, the Roman Empire.

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Now let's get back to the hunt for the glider pilot

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missing from this airfield in North Yorkshire

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and it's proving to be a frustrating time for the Helimed team.

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Injured and alone but unable to tell his rescuers where he is,

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all paramedics Tony Wilkes and Paul Kilner know

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is that their patient desperately needs them.

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We're with a glider in a field at the moment

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but we've just been told it's not the glider we are seeking.

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So we're going to get airborne and search again.

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Somewhere in 200 square miles, he's sitting in his wrecked glider.

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'Do you remember seeing the main A172?'

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'No.'

0:18:130:18:15

'That's just west of Carlton.'

0:18:150:18:17

-'I wouldn't have recognised it, I'm afraid.'

-'You wouldn't.'

0:18:170:18:20

'I'm a visitor up here. I know where I am on my map

0:18:200:18:23

-'but I don't do road numbers or things like that.'

-'OK.'

0:18:230:18:27

But at last, they have a lead.

0:18:270:18:30

The RRB advises that police have eyeballed the patient

0:18:300:18:33

and he's in Stokesley-Seamer area.

0:18:330:18:35

OK, this location is just north north-west of Stokesley,

0:18:370:18:41

about four miles.

0:18:410:18:43

-Is that the grid you just put in there?

-Yeah.

0:18:430:18:45

He's still on his own in this field, apparently.

0:18:450:18:48

There's cows in it, too, according to that tug aircraft.

0:18:480:18:50

I don't know if we got that last time.

0:18:500:18:53

He's been able to give as much information about what he can see

0:18:530:18:57

and where he was

0:18:570:18:58

and despite that, the incident's now 55 minutes old.

0:18:580:19:03

We believe we'll be with him now in the next three or four.

0:19:030:19:07

There it is, on the nose.

0:19:070:19:09

-Hello there. What's your name, sir?

-My name's Les Blows.

0:19:150:19:18

-Les?

-Yeah.

-Hi, Les, I'm Paul. Nice to meet you.

0:19:180:19:22

Pilot Les Blows has been trapped in his cockpit for more than an hour.

0:19:220:19:25

No wonder he's pleased to see his rescuers.

0:19:250:19:28

Have you any pain anywhere, as you're sat there?

0:19:280:19:31

I strongly suspect I've got a bone broken in my ankle.

0:19:310:19:36

-Right.

-Just this one. I'm perfectly OK elsewhere.

0:19:360:19:39

No other pain. Stay nice and still for us,

0:19:390:19:41

just don't move your head. Any pain where I'm pressing?

0:19:410:19:43

-No, my head is fine.

-If you take a nice, big, deep breath for me?

0:19:430:19:47

-How's that?

-Yeah, it's OK.

0:19:470:19:48

Just pass me your arm for a moment, let's feel this hand.

0:19:480:19:52

His leg is badly broken.

0:19:520:19:55

The glider has hit a tree stump.

0:19:550:19:58

Let's have a feel of it. You've no pain in your hips?

0:19:580:20:00

-No pain in my hips.

-Nothing in your tummy?

0:20:000:20:03

No, typical aviator's accident.

0:20:030:20:05

-Nothing on there?

-No.

0:20:050:20:06

Nothing on there.

0:20:060:20:08

Glider pilots often have to land away from base

0:20:080:20:11

but this field was harder and shorter than it looked.

0:20:110:20:14

That's right. Just use it to elevate you onto the top.

0:20:140:20:16

I'll support your ankle.

0:20:160:20:18

With no brakes, Les ran out of runway.

0:20:180:20:21

Just let that left foot down.

0:20:210:20:23

I'm going to fall off.

0:20:230:20:25

-You're quite all right.

-I am going to fall!

0:20:250:20:28

Oh, ah! Argh!

0:20:280:20:31

No, ow, ow, ow!

0:20:310:20:33

-Where's most of your pain?

-On the side of the shin.

0:20:330:20:35

-There's a big swelling.

-It's all right, I know. We've seen it.

0:20:350:20:39

What we're going to do is, just listen to us.

0:20:390:20:41

You're not going to fall, I promise.

0:20:410:20:44

Paramedic Paul knows the long wait could have complicated Les's injury.

0:20:440:20:49

One of the problems, I guess,

0:20:490:20:51

when you find a location like this is everywhere looks the same.

0:20:510:20:54

We were given two or three different grid references

0:20:540:20:57

and eventually we managed to find this gentleman, which was good

0:20:570:21:01

because, as you can see, it's quite an isolated place.

0:21:010:21:03

He wouldn't want to be here too much longer,

0:21:030:21:06

especially with night-time coming and what have you.

0:21:060:21:08

So it was good to find him, yeah.

0:21:080:21:10

Now that Les has been found,

0:21:100:21:13

the scale of the search for him is obvious.

0:21:130:21:15

I am impressed by the amount of emergency services that have turned out for this job.

0:21:150:21:19

I don't think I'm really cut out to be a glider pilot

0:21:190:21:22

and I'm not sure after seeing an incident like this, it's really the pursuit I want to take up.

0:21:220:21:27

The crash happened barely 50 feet above sea level

0:21:270:21:31

but even mountain rescue have been called out.

0:21:310:21:35

This isn't wild and inaccessible,

0:21:350:21:37

but it could have been. You just don't know, do you?

0:21:370:21:39

You don't know whether it's across a ditch

0:21:390:21:42

or halfway up a tree.

0:21:420:21:43

In those situations, the team's capabilities come into their own.

0:21:430:21:48

-Now I feel faint.

-It's all right. Just try and relax.

0:21:480:21:51

-Take some nice deep breaths.

-Am I going to lie down?

0:21:510:21:54

You're OK at the moment.

0:21:540:21:55

Les's condition is now beginning to concern his rescuers.

0:21:550:21:59

Is the time he spent trapped in his cockpit under the summer sun

0:21:590:22:03

catching up with him?

0:22:030:22:05

Heatstroke is serious and potentially deadly.

0:22:050:22:09

Remember the young cyclist badly injured in an accident

0:22:210:22:24

in South Yorkshire.

0:22:240:22:25

It's a worrying case and it's taking its toll on the victim's father.

0:22:250:22:30

Five minutes ago, Steve Hamshaw was trying to help his son

0:22:310:22:35

lying paralysed in the woods after a cycling accident.

0:22:350:22:38

We've got a second casualty, there's a guy collapsed.

0:22:380:22:42

Now the Helimed team have two critical patients on their hands.

0:22:420:22:47

Back down the track, Steve has collapsed with a suspected heart attack.

0:22:470:22:51

Helimed crewman Glen Powell is desperate to get ground paramedics to his aid.

0:22:510:22:55

He's collapsed down there.

0:22:550:22:57

I don't know whether that guy has something serious going on.

0:22:570:23:00

He could be having an MI.

0:23:000:23:02

That stretcher and a blue bag is for that guy down there

0:23:020:23:06

just in case something's kicking off.

0:23:060:23:08

Can I leave land crew to deal with that? Yeah?

0:23:080:23:11

There's a stretcher there and a blue bag.

0:23:110:23:13

The team's priority has to be Joe.

0:23:130:23:16

He's numb from the neck down.

0:23:160:23:18

Glen and Darren know his dad Steve's getting medical care.

0:23:180:23:21

They want to get Joe to hospital as soon as possible.

0:23:210:23:25

At this stage, the lad really does look like he's broke his back,

0:23:250:23:29

with possible spinal cord compression,

0:23:290:23:32

or worse than that, severance.

0:23:320:23:34

He's quite a poorly lad.

0:23:350:23:37

Further on?

0:23:370:23:39

Further on, guys.

0:23:390:23:40

There we go.

0:23:410:23:44

He can't feel anything below the diaphragm.

0:23:450:23:48

Joe, tell me when you stop feeling things. I'm just going to tickle you.

0:23:480:23:52

Joe is flown to the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield.

0:23:520:23:57

Surgeons are waiting to assess his injuries.

0:23:570:24:00

The signs are worrying.

0:24:000:24:02

Joe still has no sensation in his lower body.

0:24:020:24:06

A land ambulance is now taking Joe's dad, Steve, to Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

0:24:060:24:10

His dad's life hangs in the balance

0:24:100:24:13

and it's uncertain if Joe will ever walk again.

0:24:130:24:16

Significantly, he's got no feeling at all below his diaphragm.

0:24:160:24:20

For the future,

0:24:200:24:22

if that's a permanent situation that he's in, he may not be able to walk.

0:24:220:24:27

He can move his arms OK,

0:24:270:24:29

and he can breathe OK,

0:24:290:24:30

but we're concerned that at the moment

0:24:300:24:33

he has no feeling below his diaphragm.

0:24:330:24:36

A few weeks later and there's good news for one of the patients.

0:24:380:24:42

Steve is recovering at home from what was a serious heart attack,

0:24:420:24:46

probably brought on by the strain of his son's injury.

0:24:460:24:50

Got these chest pains, fortunately there was a paramedic there.

0:24:500:24:54

She said you don't look very well.

0:24:540:24:56

I said I didn't feel it. She asked me what was the matter.

0:24:560:24:59

I said I'd got chest pains.

0:24:590:25:01

I had this spray, which I use.

0:25:010:25:04

She told me to use it and sit down and not move.

0:25:040:25:08

The air ambulance people carried on with Joe

0:25:080:25:12

to get him to hospital as quickly as they could.

0:25:120:25:16

Meanwhile, they sent for a stretcher for me

0:25:160:25:18

and they took me to the ambulance they had parked on the roadside.

0:25:180:25:21

They put me on the ECG machine and it must have been all over the place

0:25:210:25:28

and they said, "You must go to hospital as well."

0:25:280:25:30

Today in Sheffield's Northern General Hospital,

0:25:300:25:34

Steve is visiting Joe for the first time,

0:25:340:25:36

a patient with a different but just as remarkable story of survival against the odds.

0:25:360:25:41

We'll be able to have some proper beer soon.

0:25:410:25:44

He's out of intensive care, but still has no sensation in his legs.

0:25:440:25:50

His future remains uncertain, but the memories of that tragic day in the woods are crystal clear.

0:25:500:25:55

Trying out a new jump I had done the day before.

0:25:550:25:59

I was doing it successfully.

0:25:590:26:03

I did it on the day of the accident

0:26:030:26:06

and I just went over the handlebars

0:26:060:26:09

and I thought I was dead.

0:26:090:26:12

For mum, Denise, it's been an unbelievably tough few weeks.

0:26:120:26:16

Following the accident, Joe's lungs collapsed

0:26:160:26:20

and he spent much of his time under sedation.

0:26:200:26:23

I have been here every single day with him. I've been through everything with him.

0:26:230:26:27

I've cried a million tears and now we're just starting to laugh,

0:26:270:26:30

thank God, because he's talking.

0:26:300:26:33

He's being cheeky and is giving me orders now,

0:26:330:26:36

so I know he's getting a bit better, telling me what I've got to buy!

0:26:360:26:42

Three months later, and Joe is slowly working towards regaining his independence.

0:26:420:26:49

He is now even allowed home for weekend visits.

0:26:490:26:51

His family have been alongside him all the way.

0:26:510:26:55

They've been keeping me soldiering on. When I've had down days, they've been here to support me.

0:26:550:27:00

Some days I have my happy days

0:27:000:27:04

and I have my depressed days.

0:27:040:27:08

Physiotherapists are working to help Joe with his mobility.

0:27:080:27:11

It's a slow process but progress is being made.

0:27:110:27:16

And relax... And down again.

0:27:160:27:20

All they're basically saying, "Is left toe going down?" and they were doing it.

0:27:200:27:27

Or else they were moving my knee as well to command.

0:27:270:27:30

But it's a great feeling when I could do that.

0:27:300:27:34

It was a day when by terrible coincidence, father and son could both have died.

0:27:340:27:40

But for this family, survival alone is a reason to be optimistic.

0:27:400:27:45

Boys will be boys, that's what my mum used to say!

0:27:510:27:55

But a teenage sense of adventure can certainly land you in trouble.

0:27:550:27:58

Often, it's the Helimed team who are expected to pick up the pieces.

0:27:580:28:03

The lakes and reservoirs of the Dales make sure the taps never run dry in Yorkshire's big cities.

0:28:030:28:08

They store the Pennine rain and release it when it's needed.

0:28:080:28:14

But they're also a playground for the young and the adventurous.

0:28:140:28:18

But when things go wrong, the Helimed team are often needed to rescue the casualties.

0:28:180:28:25

We've got some people on the path. It's not them, no.

0:28:250:28:29

-Might be interesting.

-It looks like it is, actually.

0:28:290:28:33

Could be down there.

0:28:330:28:35

Two o'clock or three now.

0:28:350:28:37

14-year-old Samuel Barker has been thrown over his handlebars

0:28:370:28:41

while cycling around a reservoir near Todmorden in West Yorkshire.

0:28:410:28:47

OK, just opening the door.

0:28:470:28:51

The reservoir is surrounded by steep embankments

0:28:510:28:54

so pilot, Steve, is forced to land some way from the injured teenager.

0:28:540:28:59

I tried bunny hopping over a puddle and my forks just came off.

0:28:590:29:03

Disappeared underneath you?

0:29:030:29:05

-And I just face-landed.

-Cool, did you have a helmet on?

0:29:050:29:09

-Erm...no.

-Next question is, why?

0:29:090:29:13

-Er...

-Let's have a proper look at you.

0:29:130:29:15

Samuel was cycling with friends when the accident happened.

0:29:150:29:18

Fortunately, they were able to call for help and keep him warm until the chopper arrived.

0:29:180:29:23

He gave me his phone and I rang his dad and he came as soon as he could.

0:29:230:29:28

We've just sat with him and wrapped him up in jumpers.

0:29:280:29:32

It's really important we keep your head and neck in the same position.

0:29:320:29:35

Samuel landed face first and is in a lot of pain.

0:29:350:29:39

James is keen to minimise his discomfort with a shot of morphine.

0:29:390:29:42

Sam, however, has other ideas.

0:29:420:29:44

Do not inject me. Don't inject me.

0:29:440:29:47

I've not got anything in my hands. Let's talk about it first.

0:29:470:29:50

-You're going to need one anyway.

-No, I'm not having an injection.

0:29:500:29:55

-OK, why's that?

-I'm really scared of needles.

-Are you? OK.

0:29:550:29:59

A broken front fork was the cause of the accident.

0:29:590:30:03

It happened in the middle of nowhere.

0:30:030:30:05

But Samuel still had Dad to comfort him.

0:30:050:30:09

He rode up on the family quad bike and is about to come in very useful.

0:30:090:30:13

We are going to reposition.

0:30:130:30:15

Really steady, that's great.

0:30:150:30:18

Give us a smile, you're on the back of the bike.

0:30:180:30:22

We're doing grand, actually.

0:30:220:30:24

He is being remarkably chipper, considering he landed on his face.

0:30:240:30:29

We just need to get his face looked at and, obviously,

0:30:290:30:32

any head injury we need to observe for a period of time.

0:30:320:30:36

Another lesson of why to wear a helmet when you are on a pushbike.

0:30:360:30:40

Does that mean I am going to be in hospital for a day?

0:30:400:30:43

Just an afternoon probably.

0:30:430:30:45

He may be nervous about needles,

0:30:450:30:47

but fortunately, he has no fear of flying.

0:30:470:30:50

It turns out he is, in fact, a helicopter enthusiast who, one day, wants to become a chopper pilot.

0:30:500:30:55

Is it a Jet Ranger?

0:30:550:30:57

Not a Jet Ranger, MD902 Explorer.

0:30:570:30:59

-Has it got a jet engine?

-A what?

0:30:590:31:03

-Has it got a jet engine?

-Two jet engines.

0:31:030:31:06

Samuel is about to take off for Leeds General Infirmary

0:31:060:31:09

where doctors will X-ray and scan him.

0:31:090:31:13

The wounds to his cheek and eye needed 13 stitches.

0:31:130:31:18

He is now cycling again, but will always wear a helmet.

0:31:180:31:21

Children are often hurt in strange ways and in the most unusual of circumstances.

0:31:230:31:29

It's May, and the Helimed team are en route to Thorne near Doncaster.

0:31:310:31:36

On the map, there is a mast just beyond the target.

0:31:360:31:40

Two young lads have injured themselves while riding a quad bike on farmland.

0:31:400:31:44

Just an update. Two patients, one walking wounded.

0:31:440:31:49

The other, a 14-year-old male is unconscious. Over.

0:31:490:31:53

The boys were out enjoying themselves when they drove straight into a hidden hole,

0:31:530:31:57

catapulting them from the quad.

0:31:570:31:59

Only one of them was wearing a helmet.

0:31:590:32:02

Land paramedics have managed to get to the injured boys on foot

0:32:020:32:06

and a worried mum has arrived in a four-wheel-drive.

0:32:060:32:09

No obvious injuries. There is nothing obvious that I can see.

0:32:090:32:13

Collar's on, 100% oxygen and just been keeping an eye on him.

0:32:130:32:17

With quad accidents, the rider is often thrown clear of the bike.

0:32:170:32:21

It is then down to chance what they collide with.

0:32:210:32:25

All right, mate.

0:32:250:32:28

Medic 2 to Medic 1.

0:32:280:32:30

Rear-seat passenger Todd has been unfortunate.

0:32:300:32:34

When he was thrown forwards, he hit his head on the back of his friend Matt's helmet.

0:32:340:32:39

Let's get him.

0:32:390:32:40

-All right, Todd, good lad.

-That's it, mate.

0:32:420:32:44

Paramedics Tony and Al are concerned.

0:32:460:32:48

Todd is drifting in and out of consciousness

0:32:480:32:51

and has also been vomiting.

0:32:510:32:52

These symptoms point towards the possibility of a serious head injury.

0:32:520:32:57

Open your eyes for us, Todd. Don't move for us, mate.

0:32:570:33:01

Ready, steady, move.

0:33:010:33:04

-Get his head up. That's smashing.

-Ready, steady, move.

0:33:040:33:08

That's it. Lovely.

0:33:080:33:10

Todd's mum is understandably terrified.

0:33:100:33:14

She will travel in the chopper with her son to hospital.

0:33:140:33:18

Todd's friend Matt is conscious, but will travel by land to Doncaster Royal Infirmary to be checked out.

0:33:180:33:23

Can you open your eyes for us, Todd?

0:33:230:33:25

Ey-up, matey. All right?

0:33:250:33:27

Can you talk to us?

0:33:270:33:29

Leeds General Infirmary isn't the closest hospital,

0:33:290:33:32

but with a specialist neurological ward, it is the right place to treat Todd's head injuries.

0:33:320:33:37

It's Tony, the paramedic off the air ambulance.

0:33:370:33:42

We're going to be bringing in a 14-year-old to you shortly.

0:33:420:33:45

He's been on the rear seat of a quad bike.

0:33:450:33:48

They've been thrown off the quad bike.

0:33:480:33:50

He's gone through the air about 10 to 15 feet.

0:33:500:33:53

With Mum on board, the chopper takes off for a 15-minute flight to the LGI.

0:33:530:33:59

Here, doctors will be waiting to examine Todd

0:33:590:34:01

and a CAT scan will determine the extent of his head injuries.

0:34:010:34:06

A few days later and Todd is still in the Leeds General Infirmary.

0:34:060:34:09

For him, the accident is a hazy memory.

0:34:090:34:12

For his mum however, it's a day she'll never forget.

0:34:120:34:16

I got a mobile call from Matthew

0:34:160:34:18

and he said that he had fallen off a bike and he couldn't wake Todd up.

0:34:180:34:23

That he'd had an accident.

0:34:230:34:25

I actually asked him if he was joking.

0:34:250:34:27

I thought he might just be kidding.

0:34:270:34:29

But he said no and he told us where he was.

0:34:290:34:33

So I jumped in the car and went down.

0:34:330:34:36

Matt was crying, he was really upset. Todd was just out cold on the floor.

0:34:360:34:40

He was just laid there, just lifeless.

0:34:400:34:43

It was really, really scary.

0:34:430:34:45

I just remember waking up in a bed

0:34:450:34:49

down that corridor somewhere.

0:34:490:34:53

That's all I can remember.

0:34:530:34:54

Amazingly, both Matt and Todd escaped with no major injuries.

0:34:540:34:59

But Todd came off worst and he learnt a big lesson that day.

0:34:590:35:04

If I ever go riding again, I'll wear my helmet.

0:35:040:35:07

If you're thinking of not wearing a helmet, wear it.

0:35:070:35:11

If you don't wear a helmet, you could end up like me.

0:35:110:35:14

He's lucky to be alive. I really do believe that.

0:35:140:35:17

Anthropologists reckon that learning to take risks is what helped

0:35:170:35:21

humans conquer the Earth.

0:35:210:35:23

You and me may see danger,

0:35:230:35:25

but daredevil teenagers just see an opportunity for fun.

0:35:250:35:29

Even in today's world of games consoles, iPods

0:35:290:35:33

and smartphones, some childhood favourites remain timeless.

0:35:330:35:36

There are ways of having fun

0:35:360:35:39

and hurting yourself which have been around for generations.

0:35:390:35:44

Did they say they were in the woods?

0:35:440:35:46

It's a rope swing, so I would've thought it would be across a tree...

0:35:460:35:50

Only a few miles from the Helimed air base, 13-year-old Callum Fisher has injured himself.

0:35:500:35:54

His friends say he was unconscious for a few minutes

0:35:540:35:58

and complaining just of the pain in his jaw from where his mouth hit...

0:35:580:36:03

Callum was playing with his brother when things went wrong.

0:36:030:36:07

I were on the swing and my brother Callum held onto my legs.

0:36:070:36:11

As we swung, Callum let go and grabbed my ankles

0:36:110:36:14

so my hands slipped off the tree.

0:36:140:36:16

He fell on a rock and I fell on top of him.

0:36:160:36:19

And I squashed his chest.

0:36:190:36:20

Luckily, Callum's brother is a first aider and he knew what to do.

0:36:200:36:25

Well, we put him in t'recovery position.

0:36:250:36:27

He stood up, fell on t'floor, and then we went to go call for help.

0:36:270:36:31

Rung ambulance and, fortunately, saw these guys over here who helped us.

0:36:310:36:37

Have you got any loose teeth at all?

0:36:370:36:40

Yes, here...

0:36:400:36:41

All knocked out, I think.

0:36:410:36:43

Right.

0:36:430:36:45

Try and get your head nice and still.

0:36:450:36:47

Now this might support your jaw a bit.

0:36:470:36:50

And then it will actually help with the pain a bit.

0:36:500:36:54

All right? There you go.

0:36:540:36:56

Do us a favour and just look at me.

0:36:560:36:58

Open your eyes and look at me.

0:36:580:37:01

Callum's dad is shocked, but not necessarily surprised.

0:37:010:37:04

With a house full of kids, it seems it is not the first time

0:37:040:37:07

they have got themselves into bother.

0:37:070:37:10

We have four children, four boys and one girl...

0:37:100:37:14

Three boys and one girl.

0:37:140:37:15

He is the youngest of the boys and is a typical lad.

0:37:150:37:19

What can I say?

0:37:190:37:21

Nice and steady.

0:37:210:37:23

We'll get you on here. OK?

0:37:230:37:25

What we'll do first, keep you nice and still, bring that leg forward...

0:37:250:37:30

OK. All right.

0:37:300:37:33

With Callum immobilised in case of a spinal injury,

0:37:330:37:37

he is transported out of the woods into the waiting chopper.

0:37:370:37:41

RADIO CONVERSATION

0:37:410:37:44

It turns out that Callum has broken his jaw which needs to be

0:37:500:37:54

reconstructed with two titanium plates and eight screws.

0:37:540:37:59

It's a good job younger patients like him also heal more quickly.

0:37:590:38:04

Boys being boys there and paying the price.

0:38:060:38:09

Let's return to the case of the glider pilot whose crash landing

0:38:090:38:13

in North Yorkshire sparked a major rescue operation.

0:38:130:38:17

An hour-long search for the missing aviator has finally ended in a farmer's field.

0:38:170:38:21

Les Blow's glider was badly damaged

0:38:210:38:25

when he hit a tree stump after misjudging a landing run.

0:38:250:38:28

At 6,000 feet...

0:38:280:38:31

On the way here, we came across another glider, what are the chances of that?

0:38:310:38:36

Apart from a broken leg, he seems uninjured,

0:38:360:38:40

but paramedics Paul and Tony were concerned

0:38:400:38:43

that his wait for help in the hot sun may have had other effects.

0:38:430:38:47

But Les has improved now he has been given painkillers.

0:38:470:38:50

I belong to Southdown Gliding Club in Sussex.

0:38:500:38:53

I'm up here on a gliding competition,

0:38:530:38:57

which has been loads of fun up until now.

0:38:570:38:59

A car went past here to the farm and didn't see me.

0:38:590:39:02

A horse box went by.

0:39:020:39:04

The cows didn't care about me.

0:39:050:39:08

It was a passing farmworker who finally discovered Les.

0:39:080:39:13

They were going past in the tractor

0:39:130:39:15

and the tractor is tall enough to see over the hedge.

0:39:150:39:19

He was smart enough to think, "That doesn't look right".

0:39:190:39:22

Luckily, he came and rescued me.

0:39:220:39:25

Fortunately, he knew exactly where he was so, finally, we could tell you where I was.

0:39:250:39:31

They're keeping a close eye on Les.

0:39:310:39:34

But his wife's about to get a nasty shock.

0:39:340:39:37

The helicopter had trouble finding me. Air ambulance...

0:39:370:39:42

"Darling, I've crashed," isn't the sort of call she expected to receive.

0:39:420:39:47

They got me out and then just given me some morphine for my ankle.

0:39:470:39:51

And that's all I know really.

0:39:510:39:54

It's a hot day and Les is going to be cooler travelling in an air-conditioned ambulance

0:39:550:40:00

rather than the overheated cabin of the helicopter.

0:40:000:40:03

Even the pluckiest pilot may be concerned about taking

0:40:030:40:06

another flight on the same day as a crash.

0:40:060:40:09

He had no chest or abdominal injuries,

0:40:090:40:12

no pelvic or long bone injuries.

0:40:120:40:14

Most of his pain was in his left ankle.

0:40:140:40:17

Quite a swelling on there so it looked like, potentially,

0:40:170:40:20

his fibula and his tibia may have dislocated and fractured.

0:40:200:40:23

He had movement in there and had a pulse there.

0:40:230:40:27

So we basically reduced it slightly to help with the pain

0:40:270:40:29

and put that in a splint.

0:40:290:40:31

As you can see, we're just transporting him

0:40:310:40:34

into an ambulance down to James Cook Hospital.

0:40:340:40:37

The next day, Les undergoes surgery on his leg.

0:40:370:40:43

Metal pins are put into his ankle.

0:40:430:40:45

He should recover completely in time. But he's unlikely to forget that flight.

0:40:450:40:49

It was the latest start of the day. I think it was about two o'clock when we departed.

0:40:490:40:54

I flew from Sutton Bank east to a stupendous sea breeze front

0:40:540:41:02

which is an amazing cloud formation coming in from the sea.

0:41:020:41:05

Very exciting flying at about 6,000 feet, it was just wonderful.

0:41:050:41:10

I flew all the way north up that front.

0:41:100:41:13

As I came back west along the south of Middlesbrough, I just got lower and lower

0:41:150:41:20

and I couldn't find anywhere.

0:41:200:41:23

And so, eventually, I just had to land.

0:41:230:41:26

Nothing was going to rescue me.

0:41:260:41:29

I might have got away with it if there weren't a huge trunk of hawthorn in the hedge

0:41:290:41:34

which then went and penetrated the front of my fuselage

0:41:340:41:37

which is, of course, right where my feet are and did the injury to my leg.

0:41:370:41:43

Les has written books on gliding and he's pulled off many

0:41:430:41:47

safe landings in farmers' fields.

0:41:470:41:50

His accident was due to a freak misjudgment,

0:41:500:41:52

but he knows injuries like his have ended many a flying career.

0:41:520:41:57

Because I'm a senior instructor, I've noticed in others,

0:41:570:42:03

the way they dealt with, or not, this kind of psychological trauma.

0:42:030:42:07

Some just walk away and say, "No thanks, I'm not doing that again."

0:42:070:42:10

Others might bounce straight back the next day, get another glider

0:42:100:42:15

and off they go as if they've not been touched.

0:42:150:42:18

And I'm pleased to say he has no plans to give up flying.

0:42:180:42:21

He reckons there is no thrill like soaring up here.

0:42:210:42:24

And I can't say I blame him.

0:42:240:42:27

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:42:330:42:37

E-mail [email protected]

0:42:370:42:40

Rav Wilding follows the work of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

A major search operation is launched for a pilot trapped in his wrecked cockpit. 999 controllers have no idea where he is - and it is up to the helimed team to find him.


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