Two motorcyclists whose lives were left hanging in the balance after they were involved in a head-on collision have praised the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS).
Andrew Robinson and Alex Cross were both severely injured when the pair crashed into each other while off-road motorbiking at Grizedale Forest in the Lake District on May 10, 2015.
Mr Robinson was so close to the brink of death that he stopped breathing three times while the GNAAS team desperately tried to save him. Two of the charity’s aircraft were sent to the incident.
The father-of-two from Poulton-le-Flyde, Lancashire, says the only reason he survived was due to the emergency blood transfusion administered by the doctor-led trauma team.
He said: “I was losing a lot of blood so GNAAS medics had to drain my chest. It was so full of blood that my lungs wouldn’t inflate, so the team pushed two holes into my ribcage and then give me a transfusion right there on the forest floor.
“I died three times at the scene and it took them about three hours to stabilise me before I was even taken to hospital.”
Mr Robinson, 48, suffered horrific damage across his body and now has 13 metal plates and 52 screws in his face alone.
Mr Cross, 26, from Sharston, Manchester, was knocked unconscious and suffered a brain contusion, neck injury, a femur fracture and nerve damage which has left him with limited use of his left arm.
He recalls the incident: “We were out biking and I was waiting for Andy and another friend to catch up, but when they didn’t appear, I decided to turn back to look for them to check that they hadn’t got into trouble. As I did, Andy and I, who were travelling in opposite directions, collided on a gravel corner. We tried to get out of each other’s way but it was too late.” Both men were put into medically induced comas before being flown to the Royal Preston Hospital and James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough respectively.
Mr Cross spent three months in a coma. He said: “When I woke up, I just couldn’t really believe that it had happened. “If it wasn’t for GNAAS, the end of our story may have been very different. Our family, friends and work colleagues could have been attending a double funeral. It has put life into perspective.”
Mr Robinson, an aircraft engineering manager, said: “Without a shadow of a doubt I would be dead if it wasn’t for GNAAS. They not only saved my life but my family’s too. We are all so thankful.
“It’s been an honour to shake hands with the crew.”
The pair met with GNAAS paramedic Terry Sharpe and Dr Theo Weston at their Langwathby airbase and also handed over £6,300 raised at the Prestwick Cycle Challenge where Mr Robinson helps as a support driver.
GNAAS is celebrating its fifteenth anniversary of becoming an independent registered charity. To find out how you can help, visit www.gnaas.com