"We didn't know whether he would have survived the 30ft fall." - Great Western Air Ambulance Charity
“I am immensely grateful for the rapid response of the air ambulance.”
March 5, 2016
“I cannot thank everyone enough for saving my sons life.”
April 29, 2016

“We didn’t know whether he would have survived the 30ft fall.”

After falling 30 feet into a basement, 80-year-old Sir Henry Elwes was in a bad condition. If he was to survive he needed help fast.

It was just a normal September day in the Cotswolds for Sir Henry, who had visited a building site to check on the work. Along with one of the builders he was on the 3rd floor when it gave way, sending them crashing down into the basement 30 feet below.

Sir Henry had fallen into a flooded basement and was partially submersed in very cold water, with serious injuries to his chest, head, and pelvis. The only way to access him was by a steep ladder and time was running out.

The Great Western Air Ambulance Charity were called and our helicopter arrived at the scene within 20 minutes. Onboard were Critical Care Paramedics Vicki Brown and Mike Page, and Critical Care Doctor Scott Grier. They were very concerned about Sir Henry’s injuries and knew he needed treatment as soon as possible. His fall meant that it was very difficult for our team to reach him, and Scott had to climb down into the flooded basement.

When he reached Sir Henry, he was able to assess his injuries and gave him strong pain relief. Our crew carry stronger medication that is found on a land ambulance. Once this had been administered Scott was able to treat Sir Henry’s injuries, and move him without causing more pain.

Working with the Hazardous Area Response Team and the Fire Service, Sir Henry was carefully brought up from the basement. He was then wrapped in a special blanket to keep him warm and airlifted to Southmead Hospital, the region’s specialist major trauma center.

Thanks to the skill and quick response of our team, Sir Henry has now made a full recovery. Dr Scott Grier said:

“It was a very complex job, due to the safety of the collapsed structure and working with the other emergency services. Sir Henry was extremely lucky and we weren’t at all clear when we got there whether he would have survived the fall.”

If you or someone you know has been helped by the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity team, we’d love to invite you to meet the crew who help you. You can get in touch using our ‘Contact form.