Episode 18 Helicopter Heroes


Episode 18

Rav Wilding follows the work of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. A cycling club's Sunday spin ends in a serious accident and a boy is hit by a runaway truck.


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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-30s, been ejected from a vehicle.

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Hospital is an hour away by road and speed is the only thing that can save you.

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Roger. Helimed 99's en route. Over.

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The Yorkshire Air Ambulance and its highly trained paramedics are scrambled a thousand times a year.

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-'What's happened?

-A wagon's run over a small child.'

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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 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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The team scramble to a hit-and-run accident.

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I looked back and I saw carnage. They went down like dominoes.

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-A girl is stranded in a dangerous river.

-I'm concerned she'll get swept away.

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Pilot Tim invades a castle in the fight to save a boy knocked down by a runaway truck.

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It just carried on and hit them. It were just a little boy pinned there.

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And an Everest expedition ends barely a thousand feet up.

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We're climbing to Everest base camp in a month's time.

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Few people are more vulnerable on our roads than cyclists.

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They share them with cars and lorries,

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but when something goes wrong,

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there's no seatbelts or airbags to save them

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and their injuries can often be very serious.

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The historic town of Richmond is home to a thriving cycling club.

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And every weekend, its members head out into the lanes of the Yorkshire Dales.

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But today, a Sunday spin has ended in serious injury.

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'Helimed 98. A car versus a group of push bikes.

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'We've got three patients, two with query pelvic

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'and the third has been KO'd, just coming round.'

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At times like this, paramedics know speed is critical.

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It's a good job Pete Vallance is a keen runner.

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It's clear a large group of cyclists are involved.

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Casualties are strewn across the road.

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We were overtaken by a cattle trailer and Land Rover.

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There was an oncoming cyclist from the opposite direction.

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It made him pull in too quickly and clipped the front group of riders which obviously ended in this result.

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How are we doing?

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-We've got pelvis.

-This guy?

-Yeah.

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Pelvis, lower back, possible hips.

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-He's got a numb feeling in his arms.

-OK.

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Chris Snape took the full force of the impact.

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It shattered his pelvis and he's going into shock.

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-Guys, Chris...

-Controlled breaths.

-Deeper breaths. You're going to go dizzy with that, boss.

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I was right at the very front, so I was kind of immune to all this,

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but I saw one guy go down, I looked back and I saw basic carnage behind us. They went down like dominoes.

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Initially, I thought it was guys at the front who were braking,

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then I saw a bike actually just sort of topple over.

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I just ran into the person in front, but the guys in front were cascading over each other.

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And with so many riders injured in the crash, Pete needs to quickly assess all of his patients.

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-We've got another guy who was knocked out on the floor as well.

-Right.

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So could I just ask you a favour? You've been knocked out then, yeah?

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-So they say.

-Do you mind just kneeling down behind here?

-Yeah.

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-I know you've got no pain in your neck or your back.

-Yeah, no pain.

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Just try and keep your head still. Would somebody mind keeping hold of his head?

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With so many potential patients and so little time,

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Pete's improvising a support for the rider's neck and back. He could have a spinal injury.

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I chased after the vehicle to try and stop it, but it was long gone.

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How are you doing there, sir?

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Does somebody mind just taking this guy's head for us and just support him while he's laid down

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until we can get more hands down to actually do anything about it?

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It'll be the one that Simon's down with.

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-We're just dealing with one of your colleagues. How are you feeling?

-It's my right hip.

-Yeah.

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-That's taken the hit.

-OK.

-I've cracked my helmet, but I'm not...

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Thankfully, you've got a helmet on.

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The hip is the only thing that's hurting.

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I'm just going to uncover you for two minutes.

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OK, you've got obvious abrasions here on the outside and that's gone through your bottom, yeah?

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So you've got pain actually into your groin as well.

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Welcome reinforcements are arriving. It's the Great North Air Ambulance.

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Is that helping you, Chris? Making you feel a bit better?

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A fractured pelvis is a serious, life-threatening injury.

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The pelvic bone protects many organs, bones and nerves,

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so a high-impact injury like this could mean major internal damage.

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But before Chris can be moved, his pelvis needs to be secured.

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We've got a belt that's just going to go round the top of your hips.

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The Helimed team carry a special pelvic splint.

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It's like a giant corset to hold everything in place,

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but for it to work, it needs to be tight.

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Right, a bit more. That's about right, mate, for me.

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Can I pull it through a bit? Just support him. Pull it through.

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-And every click can be agonising.

-Agh!

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Just bear with us, Chris. Deep breaths. Don't stop breathing. This is when you're going to need it.

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Chris's pelvis is now stabilised,

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but none of the team know the extent of the internal injuries this accident has caused.

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He urgently needs hospital treatment, but that's 20 miles away.

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Fast-flowing water is a killer.

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Just two feet deep, it's enough to sweep a full-grown man off his feet.

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So if someone's in trouble in a river, the emergency services take no chances.

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It's the end of summer at Bolton Abbey in North Yorkshire

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and the day-trippers are cooling off by the waters of the River Wharfe.

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This is a popular beauty spot, but the river here can be treacherous.

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Bronte Polvani is less than 20 feet from the bank with her auntie only yards away,

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but her life is in real danger.

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If she slips, she'll be swept into a series of rapids and whirlpools

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that have killed dozens of people over the years, as paramedic Lee Davison knows.

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'It's somewhere that a lot of people visit.

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'Some people go swimming in the river and it's claimed a few lives over the years.

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'Very recently, I went to a young boy of eight years old that drowned there.

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'So that's very recent and obviously it brings back the memories of that day.'

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Bolton Abbey is an easy landmark to find,

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but there's five miles of riverbank to search for the casualty.

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-'There's an RV in the bottom corner. The fire brigade are there.

-There's somebody in the water.

-Yeah.'

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She's been in there about 20 minutes. But I don't want her losing grip.

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-No, we've had people go underneath before.

-We've had too many.

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Bronte's auntie, Jill Wadsworth, has been doing a good job keeping up her niece's spirits,

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but Bronte is getting tired and cold.

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I'm concerned that she may grow weak, as she already is doing, and she's going to get swept away.

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-Yeah.

-We're going to perform a rescue just because of the time period that she's been in there.

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We have got a Water Rescue Unit coming from Bingley, but we're looking at probably 20 minutes away.

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I'll just assess the situation and get back to you.

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Ten-year-old Bronte was paddling in the shallows with her cousins when they were swept away.

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Jill managed to rescue them, but she couldn't reach Bronte.

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We asked them if they were OK and they said, "My sister's drowning," but they'd called help,

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so we came to see if we could do anything.

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No-one will be going into the water without a life jacket.

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Everyone knows the river's grim reputation.

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It's a bit of an accident spot.

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We've had a couple of kids drown here quite recently,

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so the worst thing that could happen

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is she could lose her grip and end up downstream, but some firemen are ready to throw her a line.

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We just need to get her out and obviously get her out of the cold water.

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Water a few inches deep can sweep an adult off their feet.

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Even the firefighters are struggling to stay upright.

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At least Bronte now has a life jacket if she's swept away.

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But she's not safe yet.

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Imagine walking down the street and being hit by a runaway vehicle!

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It's a terrifying thought, but one day in South Yorkshire,

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that's exactly what happened to a young boy.

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The battlements of ancient Conisbrough Castle have seen many dramatic events

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in the nine centuries since they were built,

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but today, Helimed 98 is about to add another chapter.

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'98, we're over Conisbrough Castle now. Just looking at your map,

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'could you point us in the right direction, north-east, south-west of the castle? Over.'

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Pilot Tim Taylor is touching down in the grounds.

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Just down the road from the castle walls, there's been a freak accident.

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Hello, pal. How are we doing, Ben?

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Ben Grainger was walking down the road with his mum Michelle and sister when he was hit

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by this runaway truck. His leg is badly broken.

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We're going to be transporting this patient. I'll just give you a quick heads-up.

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He's an eight-year-old male, query isolated femur.

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Ben was pinned against the wall until the driver arrived and reversed the truck away.

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I were just driving up and that lorry there just came rolling down.

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I thought somebody were acting about or they were taking a wide corner,

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then it just carried on and hit them.

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It were just a little boy that were pinned there.

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Paramedic James fears he may have serious internal injuries.

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Isolated femur, Sammy, by the looks of it.

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Are you all right, kid?

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The first paramedics on scene have done a good job beginning Ben's treatment.

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When we arrived, by all accounts, the pick-up had been moved away

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and he were just on the floor with his mum cradling him.

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Helimed 98 was already in its hangar and the crew were about to head home when the call came in.

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Now they're running out of daylight.

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18 minutes. Lovely. We've got wires on here.

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Ready on three. One, two, three, nice and steady.

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Keep moving, keep moving. Stop. Lovely job.

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Just lay back, mister. Good lad.

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For an eight-year-old, Ben is very brave.

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-Is that tummy sore?

-What?

-Does your tummy feel OK?

-Yeah.

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Where I'm touching? Point with this hand where it's sore... Just here?

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Right, let's go, let's go.

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Sweetheart, do you want to come with us? Yeah?

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Everything seems like a rush because we need to be up in the air in ten minutes.

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James is commandeering a ground ambulance for a short drive back to the castle.

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Ben's mother will travel with him.

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He's been hit by that van at some significant speed, so we just need to be really careful with him.

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He needs to go to the Children's and the quickest way is by air, but we must be in the air in five minutes,

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otherwise he'll have to go in an ambulance.

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Once we've got him in the cab, I'll explain everything and we'll slow everything down.

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Are you all right, Benny boy? Stick your tongue out for me... Good lad.

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We'll just take it off on the spinal board, I think.

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The castle is just ten minutes' flying time from Sheffield Children's Hospital,

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but there's no time to waste.

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Legally, Helimed 98 must be on the ground half an hour after sunset.

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Hi, it's James on Helimed 98.

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Can I have Resus, please, assessment of an eight-year-old male?

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Been hit by a large sort of van, pinned for approximately two to three minutes.

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For the paramedics, there's relief that Ben will soon be receiving the treatment he needs.

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Looking after a child with trauma is among the most difficult tasks an ambulance crew can face.

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With children, they can very quickly deteriorate.

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We were quite happy with him. He was a brave lad. He's got quite a high pain threshold as well.

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By the time Helimed 98 reaches Sheffield Children's Hospital, darkness is falling.

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But the important thing is Ben is now only minutes from treatment.

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Grab a bit. Thank you. Ready, one, two, three.

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It's the beginning of a long night for Ben and his mum as he is scanned and X-rayed.

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Despite being crushed by a three-tonne truck, his injuries turn out to be relatively minor.

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But summer has given way to winter before he's well enough to come and thank his rescuers.

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I was walking with my daughter Scarlett and Ben was behind us.

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We just heard a bang, so we turned round and I just saw this van and wondered what was happening.

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Then I realised that Ben was in front of the van and it was pinning him to the wall.

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The Air Ambulance people were fantastic. James was just fantastic.

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It's a bit surreal to come back.

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It just feels really strange thinking about it again,

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but it's fantastic to meet James and the rest of them

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and to say thank you to him, to meet him and speak to him and for Ben to see him as well.

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-It's been really good. Have you enjoyed seeing James again?

-Yeah.

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Let's return to the rescue operation in Richmond, North Yorkshire.

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The Helimed team are struggling to deal with the casualties of a serious road accident.

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The cycling club outing had barely started when this happened.

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Three riders are seriously injured after a collision involving a car and trailer.

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At least two people were knocked off,

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then the process of them being knocked off caused several other people to go down.

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You don't think about it because it's happening so quickly.

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You're thinking tons of thoughts all at once.

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First, you're trying to not fall off yourself, then you don't want to run into anyone else.

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Once you start seeing debris on the road, you want to go and help them.

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It's pretty horrific.

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Me and another guy chased off after the guy who knocked us off and we were trying to flag him down,

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but obviously, we couldn't catch him and he's gone and we can't find him.

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But he left behind three seriously injured patients.

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Chris Snape has now had his fractured pelvis secured,

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but paramedic Ben Anderson is worried about another cyclist who was knocked out in the crash.

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-I think it's this side of his head.

-No problem.

-This is where the crack is. At the back.

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-You keep that hand...

-Yeah.

-Just lightly at it.

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Ben fears his neck may be broken.

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Lovely. Now clamp that hand back on without holding the strap.

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If so, the slightest movement could be fatal.

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Your helmet's coming off, champ.

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Although his helmet took the force of the impact, this injury could still have damaged his brain.

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Let's have a quick feel of your head.

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A doctor and paramedic from the Great North Air Ambulance have now arrived

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and they'll be flying him for an urgent scan in hospital.

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This guy here has been KO'd. He has been fully conscious, GCS 15 since we got there.

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Not complaining of any particular pain, but we've not had a chance to collar and board him.

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The guy up here was complaining of right hip pain which they were querying pelvis.

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He's got a nice road rash round the right hip.

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This guy we think has got a pelvic. We've just put a pelvic splint on.

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Just dosing him up with morphine and then we'll be off.

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So with the other cyclists now being taken care of, Pete and Ben now concentrate on Chris

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whose pain is getting worse.

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-GROANS Chris, where's that pain?

-My hip.

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Still your hip? Which side?

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That right side?

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OK, guys, ready, steady and lift.

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Basically, we've tried to take who we think is the most seriously injured.

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Our patient here, we're suspecting he's got a possible pelvic fracture.

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We'll take ours to James Cook.

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I'm almost certain that the Great North Air Ambulance

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will come to James Cook as well, so we'll make a hasty landing and move.

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They'll follow us up in ten minutes.

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Nearly there, Chris. Doing well, Chris. Ben! How much morph have we had? 10?

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CHRIS GROANS Draw us another 10 up!

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The strongest painkiller paramedics can give is morphine

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and Chris has now been given 20 milligrams, the maximum dose,

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yet he's still in agony.

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It's almost certainly a pelvic injury.

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It's taken quite a bit of pain relief to get on top of his issues,

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so it'll just be a case of getting him flown straight in to James Cook,

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getting him to a trauma centre and get them to X-ray him and find out the extent of his injuries.

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-Give us your arm, champ.

-Pop that on there.

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Right, just bring your arm round for me. I'm just going to top you up with some more.

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I'm cutting your coat, all right? It's knackered.

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-Are you happy for me to cut your top?

-He's already cut my arm.

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This small Yorkshire Dales field has now become a makeshift helipad

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and soon both of these air ambulances will be heading to the same hospital.

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The closest hospital is James Cook, so we'll both go there.

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Coming up - the hospital is under pressure as the first victims of the crash arrive

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and doctors begin their treatment.

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He'll have some X-rays as soon as we get into A&E.

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Remember the girl who was trapped in the chilly waters of the River Wharfe during a family day out?

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Let's catch up on her case.

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Ten-year-old Bronte Polvani was paddling with her cousins on a day by the river

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when a lost ball led her into deep water.

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Now she's at the centre of a tricky rescue operation to prevent her being swept downstream

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into lethal whirlpools.

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-That ledge, Phil, that you can see running out to her...

-Yeah.

-It drops off into a deep pool.

-Right.

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So the best bet is to go out and grab her and just...

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I don't think we can cinch her from there.

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A specialist fire brigade rescue team has just arrived at the scene of Bronte's accident,

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a beauty spot on the River Wharfe near Bolton Abbey in Yorkshire.

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We come here quite often for people that get injured in this river

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or they get stuck or they unfortunately end up as a fatality.

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It seems to claim a few lives over the years.

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-Put a line on my back, Andy. I'll go out and grab her and pull her in.

-Are you happy with that?

-Yeah.

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Stick that handle through there.

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Fast-flowing water is lethal.

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The firefighters' precautions may look excessive, but this is a dangerous place.

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Eventually, one of the rescuers makes a grab for Bronte.

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And she's safe. She's been in the water for almost an hour.

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Now the Helimed team takes over.

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They're worried she may have hypothermia after her ordeal.

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-Come on, sweetheart. Let's get you stripped off and dried out. What's your name?

-Bronte.

-Bronte.

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Bronte, I'm Kate.

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It seems to lure people in, but with any stream or river or anything like that,

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you've got to be so careful with the undercurrents. It can be tragic if you don't.

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Let's get these shoes off.

0:21:300:21:33

How many knots have you got in these shoes then?

0:21:330:21:36

-One or two.

-Are you all right?

0:21:360:21:38

How did you end up in there, sweetheart?

0:21:380:21:42

I tried to get across.

0:21:420:21:45

Oh, dear. Right, my love. Just slip your feet out of these.

0:21:450:21:49

Right, what I'm going to do is put this blanket up in front of you

0:21:490:21:54

and get your clothes off, sweetie. Just take your t-shirt.

0:21:540:21:58

For the passers-by who raised the alarm, it's a moment of relief.

0:21:580:22:03

People don't realise how dangerous it is and they come down, go for a swim, go in on the grass,

0:22:030:22:09

and there's so many people have been drowned now.

0:22:090:22:12

Bronte's mum could only stand and watch the drama from the other side,

0:22:120:22:17

but her sister Jill played a vital role making sure she did not give up her grip on the rock

0:22:170:22:23

that saved her life.

0:22:230:22:25

I tried to get her out, but I couldn't because of the current.

0:22:250:22:30

I just wanted to stay with her until...until the help came.

0:22:300:22:35

But me and my son had already been in the river. They tried to cross and got stuck downstream.

0:22:350:22:42

Pretty straightforward as water rescues go. We grabbed the young lady from behind, under her arms,

0:22:420:22:48

and then just got her to the side.

0:22:480:22:52

Bronte's going to hospital by road for a routine check-up,

0:22:520:22:56

but everyone's relieved she survived a river that has claimed many lives like hers in the past.

0:22:560:23:02

They took her to hospital in the ambulance,

0:23:020:23:05

checked her over and she was fine.

0:23:050:23:08

She made a quick recovery. We were all just a bit in shock.

0:23:080:23:13

Bronte especially. It's an awful thing to have happened, but we're just so thankful

0:23:130:23:18

that it came out the way it did.

0:23:180:23:21

This is the first time the family's returned to the River Wharfe.

0:23:220:23:26

Bronte's none the worse for her narrow escape, but she was overwhelmed

0:23:260:23:32

by the scale of the response to her plight.

0:23:320:23:36

I felt quite embarrassed because I only needed a rope to pull me out

0:23:360:23:40

and then all this thing came,

0:23:400:23:43

but when they came, it took a while for them to set up and stuff.

0:23:430:23:48

But they did help me.

0:23:490:23:52

But her mother's keen for others to know the dangers of this unpredictable river.

0:23:520:23:57

Further downstream, there's the stepping stones where they are in and out of the water quite safely,

0:23:570:24:04

just a couple of hundred metres upstream. But that's just one part of the river.

0:24:040:24:10

There had been heavy rainfall so the current was really strong and it took your foot away.

0:24:100:24:18

You just can't predict and it does make you so much more cautious.

0:24:180:24:22

It's the most dramatic parts of the British landscape that tend to attract the most adventurous people.

0:24:330:24:39

The Three Peaks in Yorkshire are a magnet for hardcore walkers, cavers and climbers.

0:24:390:24:44

And the really tough ones are here to tackle a gruelling marathon in the sky.

0:24:440:24:50

The Three Peaks Walk leaves the average walker weak at the knees -

0:24:500:24:55

25 miles across rough terrain, including a climb up three fells that totals 7,000 feet.

0:24:550:25:02

We're just having to sign in at the cafe here, which gives us a start time for the walk.

0:25:020:25:09

Today Helimed pilot Steve Cobb and paramedic Lee Davison are taking it on for charity.

0:25:090:25:16

I've had problem with a knee in training, so I hope I get round. I'll probably do two of them.

0:25:160:25:22

I've placed my car halfway round so I can jump in that and walk back.

0:25:220:25:27

Bye!

0:25:270:25:29

Steve's more used to seeing the peaks from this angle and this is a familiar landscape.

0:25:290:25:35

The combination of rugged terrain, thousands of visitors and long distances to the nearest hospitals

0:25:350:25:42

mean the choppers are often called here.

0:25:420:25:45

These hills are carved out of limestone. It makes for a terrain that is unforgiving on your feet

0:25:450:25:51

and treacherous if you lose balance, as the Helimed team know only too well.

0:25:510:25:57

Many a Three Peaks trek has ended in a 999 call

0:25:580:26:02

and today's case follows a familiar pattern.

0:26:020:26:06

Quite often you get people who get into bother because it's a thing people do as a challenge.

0:26:060:26:13

-It'll be the hardest thing they've done.

-It's quite off the beaten track from the nearest road

0:26:130:26:19

that a land ambulance could get to.

0:26:190:26:21

The accident is close to the summit of Ingleborough, second-highest mountain in Yorkshire.

0:26:210:26:27

Helimed 99, we've got an ETA of about 2 minutes. Over.

0:26:270:26:31

'Roger that. We should have smoke onsite for you, over.'

0:26:310:26:36

Yeah, there's smoke.

0:26:370:26:39

It can get extremely windy up here, but pilot Steve Cobb manages to land just a short walk away

0:26:390:26:46

from the Cave Rescue Team.

0:26:460:26:48

You all right? Trouble?

0:26:480:26:51

Hello. You're on CrimeWatch UK again.

0:26:530:26:56

-I was with the dogs up there.

-Were you?

-Tony, this is Sue.

0:26:560:27:01

-Sue.

-Sue's been walking out here, she's tripped up where this dips.

0:27:010:27:06

I think she's tripped here, gone over and hit her sternum and her chest on this corner.

0:27:060:27:12

If we just have a quick look...

0:27:120:27:15

Many people attempting to take on these intimidating peaks are not full prepared,

0:27:150:27:22

but for Sue Manley and partner Ian, today wasn't out of the ordinary.

0:27:220:27:26

In locations like this, even the most experienced hillwalker is only one misplaced step from disaster.

0:27:260:27:33

We'd climbed Ingleborough and were coming down this side, come down the waterfall,

0:27:330:27:39

got to the flagstones. I was a little bit in front.

0:27:390:27:43

And I heard Sue cry out and she'd tripped over one of the flagstones

0:27:430:27:49

and she'd banged all her face and possible damage to her sternum.

0:27:490:27:53

Obviously very shaken up.

0:27:530:27:56

-Have you been in a helicopter before?

-Only on a sightseeing tour.

0:27:560:28:01

Well, there's some nice scenery for you here. OK?

0:28:010:28:07

Sue hit the stone with some force. She's knocked out a tooth.

0:28:070:28:11

One of the rangers was out and he heard the commotion, so we've had brilliant assistance

0:28:110:28:17

-from everybody, really.

-Despite being a sunny day, shock and wind chill are taking hold of Sue.

0:28:170:28:23

Without the air ambulance, hospital care would still be over an hour away.

0:28:230:28:29

Just lift her up, feed it on.

0:28:290:28:31

The flight to Blackburn Hospital will take around 15 minutes.

0:28:310:28:35

Unfortunately, Sue is laying flat on her back, so she'll miss an aerial view of breathtaking scenery.

0:28:350:28:42

It looks like you've had a thump on your chest as you've gone down.

0:28:420:28:46

Doctors at Blackburn Hospital examine Sue - no broken bones, but she damaged nerves in her face.

0:28:460:28:54

It'll be an excellent Christmas video, though!

0:28:540:28:58

Back on the charity walk, the Helimed team ramblers are already wishing for an airlift!

0:28:580:29:04

The forbidding slopes of Pen-Y-Ghent are more than half a mile high.

0:29:040:29:09

I'm glad that I'm doing it. I know what people are going through when they're aching and exhausted

0:29:090:29:16

or have an injury. I can tell why they've sustained that. It's so easy to do.

0:29:160:29:21

Even if you're well equipped like these guys, you can easily fall victim to an accident up here.

0:29:210:29:28

Yorkshire's hills are home to hundreds of the UK's best climbers.

0:29:280:29:33

Men and women who have conquered K2 and Everest learnt their skills right here.

0:29:330:29:38

But many a training trek has ended in disaster.

0:29:380:29:42

In winter it gets pretty bleak around here, so you've got to have good reason to take to these hills.

0:29:440:29:50

The high land as we get closer goes as high as 2,277.

0:29:500:29:56

-That's quite a big hill.

-Yeah.

0:29:560:29:58

-I suspect we'll be going round it.

-It's February.

0:30:000:30:04

Walker Lindsey Ducker has fallen while attempting to complete the Three Peaks Challenge.

0:30:040:30:10

-What are these people waving at?

-Where are we looking?

0:30:100:30:15

-In there.

-Yeah.

0:30:150:30:17

The Three Peaks trek is often used by hikers training for even bigger challenges

0:30:170:30:23

-and Lindsey is training for the biggest of them all.

-Hello, hi.

0:30:230:30:27

-Right ankle.

-OK, no problem. Stay still, you're OK.

0:30:270:30:31

Just explain what's happened.

0:30:310:30:34

-Lindsey and I are climbing to Everest Base Camp in a month.

-Assuming she's OK.

-Yeah!

0:30:340:30:40

It was part of our training.

0:30:400:30:42

You'll be coming with us to come off the hill. All right?

0:30:420:30:47

I saw her knee jerk in a weird way, which made me quite scared.

0:30:470:30:51

Ankles are one thing, but knees are another.

0:30:510:30:55

Just keep going on it, OK?

0:30:550:30:57

Just keep your foot still.

0:30:570:31:00

It looks like her ankle may be fractured. If this is the case,

0:31:000:31:04

it's unlikely she'll be able to even attempt the Everest Base Camp trek.

0:31:040:31:09

It may not just be today's adventure which is cut short.

0:31:090:31:13

Lindsey is flown to Lancaster Hospital. Her ankle was X-rayed and, although there were no fractures,

0:31:130:31:19

damaged tendons meant it was impossible for her to take on the trek to Everest base Camp.

0:31:190:31:25

A week later and Lindsey is back at home. For now her dream is out of reach,

0:31:260:31:32

but she has vowed that she'll complete the trek.

0:31:320:31:37

There's only two windows every year that you can actually do the climb,

0:31:370:31:41

when it's safest and the weather is as settled as it is.

0:31:410:31:46

So this window will be gone now. The next one will be later in the year or the year after.

0:31:460:31:53

The Ribble Head viaduct is the Three Peaks' biggest man-made landmark

0:31:550:32:00

and a welcome sight for the Helimed charity walkers.

0:32:000:32:04

They've reached the halfway mark.

0:32:040:32:07

From this point it's OK for me. The knee's fine.

0:32:070:32:11

Getting down will be interesting, but I've got a zig-zag technique.

0:32:110:32:16

-It may take me a bit longer, but I'll do it.

-Still going strong!

0:32:160:32:20

Built by the Victorians, this was the first high-speed route through the north's most rugged landscape.

0:32:200:32:26

Few counties are as well divided as Yorkshire and Lancashire.

0:32:280:32:32

Only one motorway crosses the Pennines and many roads follow the winding routes through the Peaks

0:32:320:32:38

that were first beaten out by pack horses many centuries ago.

0:32:380:32:43

They present serious problems to local paramedics.

0:32:430:32:48

Getting anywhere around here in a hurry is hard work,

0:32:480:32:53

but some people love these twisting lanes. For bikers, a sunny day on these roads is as good as it gets,

0:32:530:32:59

but when things go wrong, the Helimed team are called in to pick up the pieces.

0:32:590:33:05

Today, 48-year-old biker Michael Chamley has been involved in a spectacular accident.

0:33:050:33:10

-Hello, chief.

-Michael skidded on a bridge and catapulted over a wall

0:33:100:33:15

before landing in a stream.

0:33:150:33:18

Now then, boss, what's that breathing like?

0:33:180:33:21

Getting better, but it's hurting.

0:33:210:33:24

-Have you had a listen at his chest?

-Hardly any air entry at all.

-Hardly any at all?

0:33:240:33:31

He's got pain in his left shoulder.

0:33:310:33:34

-He was out with a group of friends when it happened.

-I came round the corner and saw his bike in the road.

0:33:340:33:40

And found Cham over the wall.

0:33:400:33:43

Take a deep breath for me.

0:33:430:33:46

Michael has broken ribs. He's struggling to breath.

0:33:460:33:50

Paramedics are trained to look at an accident scene and assess the forces involved.

0:33:500:33:56

With a landing like this, the possibility of spinal damage is huge.

0:33:560:34:01

Michael has removed his helmet and is sitting upright. He must be immobilised as quickly as possible.

0:34:010:34:07

You've got a neck like a stovepipe.

0:34:070:34:10

Michael has been a biker for over 30 years, but even experienced riders can get caught out.

0:34:100:34:17

-No pain at all in your back?

-No.

-Just pain in your arms and legs?

-And his side.

-Which side?

0:34:170:34:24

On your shoulder?

0:34:240:34:26

-Yeah.

-That's where you landed, mate. So we've found out what you landed on.

0:34:260:34:31

Getting Michael to the helicopter needs a team effort.

0:34:310:34:36

I'd like a lift back, lads.

0:34:360:34:38

With the help of passing bikers and local police officers, he's loaded into Helimed 99.

0:34:380:34:44

Keep spinning.

0:34:450:34:47

Well done, guys.

0:34:490:34:51

As the chopper takes off, it's the second time today Michael's been airborne.

0:34:510:34:57

Thanks to pilot Steve Cobb, his next landing will be somewhat gentler at Blackburn Hospital.

0:34:570:35:03

A week later and Michael is still in hospital. A full recovery is a long way away.

0:35:060:35:12

Michael has been left with a broken collarbone and nine broken ribs.

0:35:120:35:17

The back tyre skidded as I went towards the bridge. I lost control and scraped down the bridge

0:35:170:35:24

and next thing I know I remember flying through the air and landing. I couldn't breathe.

0:35:240:35:31

Within a few minutes, they were coming.

0:35:310:35:35

Steve and Lee are more than halfway through their charity trek.

0:35:420:35:46

Several people have fallen by the wayside, but they are made of sterner stuff.

0:35:460:35:51

We're up now. Just a two and a half hour stroll back down again.

0:35:510:35:56

Legs feel like lead.

0:35:570:35:59

25 miles is enough for most people, but the Three Peaks are also on the route of a mountain bike challenge,

0:35:590:36:07

the Coast To Coast route. Coming off your bike on terrain like this can be very serious.

0:36:070:36:13

65-year-old David Ballard was just coming to the end of the first day of his Coast To coast challenge

0:36:140:36:20

when he lost control of his bike, crashing headfirst into a dry stone wall.

0:36:200:36:26

-Is he a cyclist?

-It came in as a cyclist, yeah.

0:36:260:36:30

OK, get the far side of that and we'll be pretty close, I think.

0:36:300:36:35

OK, yeah.

0:36:350:36:37

By road, the nearest hospital could be almost an hour away, so the helicopter is critical

0:36:370:36:43

in places like this. But to get to his patient, Pete Vallance first faces his own dales challenge.

0:36:430:36:50

He's been coming downhill, no helmet, peripheral vision.

0:36:530:36:57

He's not seen a rock in the road. He's hit the rock and he's come off his bike

0:36:570:37:03

and hit a stone wall.

0:37:030:37:05

His front wheel hit quite a big stone and he fell off.

0:37:050:37:09

And he said that his left shoulder hit the wall,

0:37:090:37:14

but when the driver who gave me a lift got to him,

0:37:140:37:18

he was crawling about on the road with blood pouring out of his head.

0:37:180:37:22

David wasn't wearing a helmet, so crashing at high speed into the wall could cause a serious head injury.

0:37:220:37:29

Ready, steady, roll.

0:37:290:37:31

Just ease it down now, yeah? Ease it down like that.

0:37:320:37:36

The wall David crashed into is still causing him problems.

0:37:360:37:40

It's now in the way between him and the helicopter, so Steve Cobb makes one of his shortest flights.

0:37:400:37:47

We were in the field next to the incident, but there was no access apart from climbing over the wall,

0:37:470:37:54

which is not the best, really, so I relocated onto the road

0:37:540:37:58

with the help of Dave to check out that the police closed the road.

0:37:580:38:03

Ready, steady, up.

0:38:030:38:05

-I only weigh 75 kilos.

-Yeah, we'd be leaving you down there if you were too heavy!

0:38:060:38:12

The guy's been doing coast-to-coast bike riding.

0:38:120:38:16

He's got about 40 miles in today. He wasn't wearing a helmet and he's come off at speed.

0:38:160:38:22

In minutes, David's landed at Blackburn Hospital and, amazingly,

0:38:240:38:29

it seems he's avoided any serious injury.

0:38:290:38:33

-Have you always been adventurous?

-Yeah.

-It's not recent?

-No, no.

0:38:330:38:38

-I've got a trip planned to Tibet in six weeks.

-And he's determined to have another go at this challenge,

0:38:380:38:44

only next time he says he will be wearing a helmet.

0:38:440:38:49

At last, the Helimed fundraisers are on the home straight.

0:38:590:39:03

More than eight hours after setting off, they approach the end.

0:39:030:39:07

Ten hours plus. Very tired. That last bit was hard, going downhill.

0:39:070:39:12

But I did it. Got my certificate.

0:39:120:39:16

It's been a great day, enjoyable.

0:39:160:39:19

And all for a good cause.

0:39:190:39:21

The irresistible challenge of the Three Peaks. I'm pleased to say all our patients are recovering well.

0:39:220:39:28

Now let's get back to the case of the cyclists badly injured in that serious accident in Richmond.

0:39:280:39:35

A serious crash in the Dales has left three cyclists badly injured.

0:39:370:39:42

Two helicopters and an ambulance are now on their way to James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough.

0:39:420:39:49

Tim's landed right on the edge of the helipad. He knows his won't be the only helicopter here.

0:39:490:39:56

Nice and steady. Those deep breaths are good, but too quick and you'll go really dizzy.

0:39:590:40:05

That's it.

0:40:050:40:07

With Chris, injury-wise, he looks to have an isolated injury around his pelvis.

0:40:070:40:13

He's in a great deal of pain. He's had a full 20ml of morphine along with Entonox.

0:40:130:40:19

He's still in considerable pain, so we'll be able to get him sorted shortly and find the cause of it.

0:40:190:40:27

But this is about to become a very busy A&E department.

0:40:290:40:34

One of the other cyclists is also now arriving by air,

0:40:360:40:40

squeezing onto the same helipad as Helimed 98.

0:40:400:40:45

He'll now be joining Chris in A&E,

0:40:480:40:51

along with a third cyclist who's arriving here by road.

0:40:510:40:55

Clearly, it's been a massive job for all these emergency teams.

0:40:550:41:00

It could have been a lot worse. We've seen incidents before

0:41:010:41:05

where people get knocked off their bikes. Luckily, they all had the right gear on, protective equipment,

0:41:050:41:12

so hopefully they won't be too bad.

0:41:120:41:14

It's a bit alarming when you get on scene and see that many people sprayed across the road.

0:41:140:41:20

For Chris, it's been a painful few weeks. After several operations,

0:41:220:41:28

his pelvis is now being supported by a special weighted splint

0:41:280:41:32

and the accident is still a vivid memory.

0:41:320:41:36

I just ended up with two bikes and Geoff in front of me. "How do I get out of this?"

0:41:360:41:42

I just ended up suddenly being vertically up in the air.

0:41:420:41:46

I was still attached to my bike and I remember looking down, thinking, "This'll hurt when I hit the ground."

0:41:460:41:53

And, sure enough, it did.

0:41:530:41:56

But his friends have helped his recovery, especially these two.

0:41:560:42:00

Dave and Geoff were the other cyclists hurt in the crash, but now they're well on the mend.

0:42:000:42:07

-How are you?

-Not so bad.

0:42:070:42:09

'As I slid down the road, I could see behind me Chris'

0:42:090:42:13

and it was Mike Boyd heading towards my bike.

0:42:130:42:18

I thought, "That'll bring somebody down."

0:42:180:42:22

And then in the next period of time I somehow spun round and could see the pick-up truck and trailer

0:42:220:42:29

disappearing round the corner.

0:42:290:42:32

First thing I heard was Chris screaming. It was not very nice to hear that.

0:42:320:42:38

I looked up the road and saw Geoff facing me.

0:42:380:42:43

'Looking round, it was chaos.'

0:42:430:42:46

And it's a crash that has brought them closer together.

0:42:460:42:51

-There's something in the genes about cyclists.

-Geoff's had a few crashes.

0:42:510:42:55

It's a habit, isn't it?

0:42:550:42:58

I'm pleased to say they haven't let the accident put them off their sport.

0:42:590:43:04

They're determined to be back in the saddle by next spring.

0:43:040:43:09

Subtitles by Subtext for Red Bee Media Ltd - 2011

0:43:180:43:22

Email [email protected]

0:43:230:43:25

Rav Wilding follows the work of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

A cycling club's Sunday spin ends in a serious accident, a teenager plunges 30ft from rocks and a boy is hit by a runaway truck.


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