Sitting next to the driver, Simon took the majority of the impact when his friend lost control of the car. A fastened seat belt could not prevent him from being ejected six meters away from the vehicle. “If it hadn’t been for the car crash, I would have just returned to Oxford Aviation Academy on Sunday morning and continued my pilot training,” says 24 year-old Simon.
“We went to watch a friend’s driving experience near Bedfordshire. Two minutes after we had left the track and set off home, my friend lost control of the car when turning around the corner. When the first response team from Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service attended, I was lying in the road. My friend Dave, who was sitting in the back seat of the car, was screaming but I was unresponsive. Nicky, who was the first medic on scene dealt with me first and requested the help of London’s Air Ambulance.”
With 25 minutes from dispatch to arrival, it was the longest mission Chief Pilot Neil Jeffers has ever flown with London’s Air Ambulance. The medical team spent almost an hour at the scene fighting for Simon’s life and stabilising him for helicopter transport to The Royal London Hospital, major trauma centre. Simon was bleeding heavily from multiple injuries and sustained a life threatening head injury. His pelvis was crushed, his right leg fractured, he suffered a severe abdominal injury. The London’s Air Ambulance team anaesthetised him and controlled his breathing, managed the bleeding and alerted The Royal London Hospital on the need to prepare blood transfusion before airlifting Simon to London.
Simon still carries an incredibly long list of the injuries he sustained on the day in his wallet. “If you saw me now, you would never tell. I have had many surgeries over the last three years and it took me a year and a half to stabilise mentally and recover physically but considering what had happened to me, it is incredible that I am in one piece.”
“The teams that treated me after my accident are the reason I am still here, I can never thank them enough or pay them back. It is hard to put into words what London’s Air Ambulance has done for me and what they continue to do on an everyday basis.”
Simon and his friends raised almost £10,000 for London’s Air Ambulance and Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service last year. In December 2012, less than 16 months after he had almost died, Simon ran a 10k Santa Run for London’s Air Ambulance.
He can’t drive anymore, let alone become a pilot. But he is positive about what is lying ahead: “I am off to France to coach swimming for 5 months. It’s exciting!”