Tom O'Ryan's rescue to feature on BBC’s Helicopter Heroes TV programme

Gazette & Herald: Tom and his partner Wendy Barry at York Races three months after the accident Tom and his partner Wendy Barry at York Races three months after the accident

TOM O’RYAN, The Press’s award-winning racing journalist who suffered serious injuries in a freak accident earlier this year, will feature on BBC 1’s Helicopter Heroes programme next week.

A cameraman from the programme was on board the Yorkshire Air Ambulance which flew out to Tom’s home at Brawby, near Malton, in May after he was hit by a flying fence post while mowing one of his paddocks.

His injuries included a crushed vertebra, multiple spinal fractures, a triple fracture of his pelvis and a hairline fracture of his hip.

The helicopter initially attempted to take Tom to James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough, but bad weather on the day made landing difficult and they re-routed to York, where he was stabilised before being transferred to the intensive care unit at Hull Royal Infirmary.

He spent three weeks hospitalised and underwent two major operations, was confined to a wheelchair for six weeks after surgery and had to wear a body brace for three months but returned to work, using a walking stick, after four months.

Tom said that when he was contacted about using the footage for the new series, he intiailly felt it would be unsuitable.

He said: “When the lady asked why, I said I thought there would probably be too much swearing on it to be of any use to them. As it turned out, it must have been okay.”

He said he had nothing but praise for the prompt assistance he received from the local ambulance service and the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

“Both services did a tremendous job and I am very grateful,” he said, but he revealed he had mixed feelings about tuning in to watch the aftermath of his accident and a follow-up interview, which will be shown at 11.30 am on Tuesday on BBC 1 and repeated at 7.30am the following day on BBC2.

“I suspect it will be a bit emotional to see it now, six and a bit months on,” he said.

“It will bring it all back, but it may also be a reminder of how far I’ve bounced back. I’m not quite where I’d like to be yet, but I know that I’m one of the lucky ones. The outcome could have been considerably worse.”


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