“GNAAS covering the Isle of Man was an absolute game-changer for George.”

“He basically faceplanted the tree and his legs went either side of it.”

A dad from Laxey on the Isle of Man has said that the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) now operating in their region has been a ‘game-changer’ in saving the life of his son.

Juan Kinnish and his son George were out mountain biking with friends at Skyhill Plantation in Ramsey on the North of the Island when the accident happened.

Juan said: “It was a Friday, and we were with my friend Nigel and his son – the four of us are out biking together a lot.

“We parked the van at the bottom, and we had completed all the big jumps and were about 90% done and travelling on a transition path at around 25mph when George went over a tree root.”

14-year-old George’s bike went sideways, and he catapulted into a tree with his head taking the brunt of the impact.

Juan, who is Station Officer at Laxey Fire Station said: “He basically faceplanted the tree and his legs went either side of it.

“I was at the back of the group with George just in front of me – I knew straight away that it was bad.

“Typically, we had no signal, so I lifted George to the side of the track, parked my bike, and ran down to Nigel to tell him what had happened and for him to call 999.”

The 47-year-old recalls his son being unconscious and scooping him up to assess him.

He said: “After I had run back up to George, within 10 minutes paramedics had arrived and decided that the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) should be called.

“It was clear to see that George had a dislocated shoulder and potentially a broken pelvis from the way he had hit the tree.”

George was put onto a stretcher and by the time he had reached the bottom, GNAAS had landed in a nearby field.

Juan said: “The paramedics handed George over to GNAAS’ critical care team and they scanned him and found out that he had a collapsed lung.

“They couldn’t be sure about the state of his pelvis, but they would be happier if they took him to Alder Hay Hospital in Liverpool just to be on the safe side in case he needed any specialist treatment.”

George and his father flew in the charity’s Pride of Cumbria II helicopter while the pair’s friend Nigel called Mrs Kinnish to let her know what had happened.

Juan said: “We landed on the helipad and there were around six people waiting for us in the trauma room although at the time it felt like 20 people.

“One of the doctors took control and it was a manic 40 minutes with scans and X-Rays.

“She then came back to me and said although he was smashed up a bit, it wasn’t as bad as they thought so that was a huge relief.”

It was found that the teenager had a broken collar bone, dislocated shoulder, collapsed lung, cracked ribs, and a cracked pelvis.

Juan said: “George doesn’t remember much of the day but remembers being sick in the helicopter as it was quite bumpy and that combined with the drugs, they had given him.

“Having GNAAS cover the Isle of Man now is an absolute game-changer. Their professionalism was just amazing.”

He added: “Our Isle of Man hospital isn’t a major trauma centre so it really can mean the difference between life and death. It’s something we have never had before so it’s just incredible.”

GNAAS’ director of operations East and paramedic, Lee Salmon, said: “The entire charity is really pleased with being able to help another isolated community.  The island is a similar distance from our Penrith base to many towns in Northumberland so it was natural for us to consider how we could bring our highly trained team within reach of there.”

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