Cornwall LivingAutumn

A remote rescue

A Sunday stroll on a sunny day turned into a multi-agency rescue for Helena Clinch when she found herself injured on remote moorland in west Cornwall.

On 12th July, Helena was enjoying a circular walk in Madron when her foot became wedged between two rocks and she heard something crack. Helena said: “We had covered the worst part of the terrain, but my foot just caught on something. I told my husband I couldn’t get up, I thought I was going to pass out. I was in a lot of pain.”

The couple were at Ding Dong Mine, a remote area with poor telephone reception. They managed to get through to 999 to call for help. A family who were passing and witnessed the incident used the ‘what3words’ app to give the call handler a precise location.

With no road access to the area, Cornwall Air Ambulance was tasked. Pilot Al White landed nearby on the gorse. Critical care paramedics Lisa Ball and Pete Storer attended Helena to assess her injuries.

Helena added: “There was a huge sense of relief when the helicopter arrived – it was like the light at the end of the tunnel. The paramedics were amazing, they gave me morphine and made me feel a lot more comfortable. Being local, you never think you’ll go on a Sunday stroll, in an area you’ve walked in many times before, and end up needing the air ambulance. I’m just so grateful they were there; we couldn’t do without them.”

Helena was taken by helicopter to a nearby field where she was transferred to a land ambulance and taken onwards to West Cornwall Hospital. She suffered a fractured ankle.

Lisa said: “Helena was in a very remote area; we were up to our waists in gorse getting from the helicopter to the scene. Our priority was to get Helena safely off the moorland – thankfully, she did not suffer severe injuries and could go to hospital in a land ambulance. It’s great to hear she is recovering well.”

What is ‘what3words’?

In an emergency, every minute matters. what3words is an app which makes it easier for 999 to find the exact location of an incident. It has given every three metres square in the world a unique identifier made of three words – making the location of any emergency very easy to describe and share.

This incredible app has helped to locate nearly 4,000 incidents since it first started being used by emergency services. The crew of Cornwall Air Ambulance have used the app multiple times to find patients. To locate, search or navigate to a what3words address, all you need is the app. It is free to download for both iOS and Android and works entirely offline – making it ideal for use in areas of the county with an unreliable data connection.

Make sure you have it downloaded on your device and know how to use it, to help save time, resource and lives.



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