Air ambulance flying high after lifting 5,000th patient

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Yorkshire’s helicopter heroes have airlifted their 5,000th patient.

The landmark mission by Yorkshire Air Ambulance saw badly injured musician Chris Parr airlifted to hospital after a head-on road accident.

Chris, a drummer with Huddersfield band State of Confusion, suffered broken ribs, a fractured breast bone and a fractured knee in the two-car smash at Marsden, near Huddersfield.

The 48 year-old was airlifted to Leeds General Infirmary after being cut free from the wreckage of his car by firefighters.

YAA was set up 13 years ago and operates two air ambulances from bases in North and West Yorkshire providing a life saving emergency response service to five million people across England’s largest region.

To keep both helicopters in the air, the charity needs to raise 9,990 per day, equivalent to 3.6 million per year.

Their 5,000th patient had the chance to thank YAA paramedics Sammy Willis and John Baxter when they visited him in at home where he is recovering from his injuries.

“I could not believe how quick the response was to the accident and all the emergency services were just fantastic,” said Chris who has been playing the Huddersfield music circuit for over 15 years.

“The air ambulance crew were just brilliant, supporting me and keeping me calm throughout the flight and I can’t thank them enough.

“It is amazing to think I am the 5,000th patient they have helped. The air ambulance does such a vital job and I’m so grateful to them.”

The only support YAA receives is through the secondment of their paramedics from Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

Demand for the air emergency response service is increasing. Last year the YAA attended a total of 933 incidents, and in turn transported 431 patients directly to hospital for treatment – up from 376 patients the previous year.

A YAA spokeswoman said: “The charity was set up in 2000 with a second air ambulance launched in 2007. It is just incredible to think we have flown 5,000 patients.

“This is an amazing achievement, which couldn’t happen without the wonderful support we receive from Yorkshire people and businesses.

“So we would like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to everyone who helps us to keep saving lives in Yorkshire.”