"The skill of the team is the reason I am here today" - Great Western Air Ambulance Charity
“I am grateful to everyone who helped me that day.”
November 25, 2015

"The skill of the team is the reason I am here today"

Dan at the GWAAC airbase meeting the crew following his recovery

Imagine hurtling down a hill on a bike and hitting a brick wall at around 30 miles an hour. Dan Coles doesn’t have to imagine it, as in March 2015 that’s exactly what happened to him.

An experienced road biker, Dan had decided to go for a ride with his friend. He prepared his bike and set out on a surprisingly nice March day. However that is the last thing Dan remembers until waking up in hospital in a lot of pain. For his friend the memory is a lot more traumatic.

Dan was cycling down a steep hill when he lost control of his bike and ploughed straight into a brick wall. The force of the collision caused him to suffer a bleed on the brain, as well as breaking his pelvis, shoulder and wrist and dislocating his thumb.

In a twist of fate the first people to walk past the scene were two off duty anaesthetists who worked at the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI). However due to Dan’s remote location and the possibility that he may have a skull fracture GWAAC were called.

At a time when speed is of the essence the helicopter arrived in under 10 minutes, carrying critical care paramedics Neil Hooper and John Wood. It was decided that Dan needed to be sedated, and so our pilot Jim Green flew to the BRI to pick up our lead critical care doctor Matt Thomas.

Dan was sedated and taken to hospital by road in a land ambulance, accompanied by Dr Thomas, who monitored him throughout the journey.

Dan was in hospital for three weeks and had two operations on his pelvis and two on his hand. This was followed by months of physiotherapy.

Determined to get better, Dan set himself the challenge of running the Bristol to Bath marathon for GWAAC, to thank the people who helped him. He had booked the place in December, and wanted to get better in time to complete it.

In October, seven months after his accident Dan ran 26 miles in three hours 22 minutes, an amazing time considering what he had been through. So far he has raised over £700 for GWAAC.

Dan said:

“I got my place for the marathon in December, and after my accident vowed to run it for GWAAC. Their quick response and excellent care saved my life, so I wanted to do something to help the charity.”

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.