Belfast Telegraph

Reunited with the helicopter heroes who saved his life, the teen who nearly died in crash

BY CLAIRE WILLIAMSON

A teenager who could have died after a serious road accident has been reunited with the heroes who saved him.

Caolan McCluskey almost lost his leg in the crash, but was airlifted to hospital by helicopter – a split-second decision that proved critical.

Caolan was one of three young men badly injured in the smash in the Foreglen area of Londonderry in February.

Paramedics quickly assessed the scene and two of the young men were taken to hospital with serious injuries.

But Caolan's injuries were so severe that it was believed it was likely he could lose his lower left leg if he did not get urgent treatment.

It was thought that transferring Caolan by road would significantly reduce the chances of saving his leg.

Then, in a move that would prove critical, the PSNI Air Support Unit was requested to airlift Caolan to Altnagelvin Hospital. Less than 20 minutes after the crash, the helicopter was deployed.

Despite a difficult landing due to conditions, the expertise of the pilot and his crew meant they landed safely at the scene.

Both the paramedics and air support unit worked together to ensure that Caolan could be transferred as safely and quickly as possible to the hospital.

Caolan's mum Grainne said: "I would like to thank everyone involved on the night of Caolan's accident."

The Limavady area PSNI Commander, Chief Inspector Sam Donaldson, said: "The fact that Caolan is well on the road to recovery and is here today makes our job worthwhile."

Detective Chief Superintendent Hugh Hume added: "I am glad that we were able to help our colleagues in the ambulance service to get Caolan to hospital swiftly and safely."

John McPoland from the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said they were delighted Caolan and his family had come to meet some of the staff involved in his initial treatment.

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"The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service is delighted that Caolan and his family have taken the time to come here today and meet some of the staff who were involved in his initial treatment. We are glad to see that he is recovering well which, in no small part, is due to the teamwork involved from the time the call was made until the time he was operated on. Many people were involved in this incident and it should be reassuring to the public of Northern Ireland that, in their time of need, they can call upon a co-ordinated response made up of a number of agencies to deliver care that ensures a positive outcome for patients."

John McPoland, Northern Ireland Ambulance Service

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