Three medics who scaled a rollercoaster to save the life of Alton Towers crash victim Leah Washington have won a Pride of Britain award.
Army doctor Major David Cooper and aircrew paramedic Tom Waters were on duty with Midlands Air Ambulance when they were called to the theme park after a collision between two trains on the Smiler ride which left four people seriously injured.
Dr Ben Clark, a volunteer with North Staffordshire BASICS emergency doctors, was also part of the emergency response team.
Despite having limited rope training, they ignored health and safety rules to climb the structure to save the lives of the trapped victims.
All three say it didn't concern them that they might be risking their own lives – especially when they realised how serious the situation was for the most badly injured casualty, 18-year-old Leah Washington.
The three men broke regulation and protocol when they realised how serious Leah's injuries were. At a height of 35 to 40 feet, they managed to stem the life-threatening bleeding which she was suffering from, saving her life in the process.
They spent four hours seeing to the most injured victims, not coming down from the ride until the victims were freed.
The medical team werereunited with Leah last month, when she said she couldn't thank them enough for what they'd done.
“We just did what we needed to do. Lots of people may have waited, but you just can’t do that when someone is in the condition that Leah was.” “In a normal environment you would have continuous blood pressure monitoring, oxygen saturation monitoring – but there just wasn’t the space.“ "We were standing on the headrests of the seats and on the safety harnesses of the carriage in front." "“We even had to take our helmets off to squeeze through the seats and get dressings on and tourniquets.”
“There were a lot of times when I was just shaking my head because I didn’t know if it was going to work and if they were going to stay alive.“ "When you see people dying in front of your eyes and you know you can’t do anything any quicker – it was very difficult." >
The three will receive their awards next week at the ceremony, hosted by Carol Vorderman and with David Cameron and Prince Charles also taking part.
You can find out how our local winners have got on in the Pride of Britain awards next week when the ceremony is televised on ITV next Thursday.