A man who fell 50ft from a Snowdonia pathway into a river was saved thanks to a quick-thinking friend and the rapid response of EMRTS medics.
Josh Tayman was hiking with a friend near the top of a waterfall at Swallow Falls in Betws-y-Coed on March 26 last year when he slipped and fell into the waters below. His friend with whom he’d been walking, Benji Robear, scrambled down to the river as quickly as he could, but still took more than five minutes.
When he arrived, he found then 20-year-old Josh face down in the water, so jumped in to pull him out and started CPR, before a passer-by who happened to be a doctor took over.
CPR continued for a desperate ten minutes before Josh started making some attempts at breathing. Wales Air Ambulance and a land ambulance arrived at the scene, and after a difficult extrication from the side of the waterfall, Josh was given a general anaesthetic by EMRTS medics, and a breathing tube was inserted down into his lungs and connected to a breathing machine.
Due to the mechanism and potential of significant internal injuries and poly trauma, he was given six units of blood products, spinal immobilisation and a pelvic binder was applied. He was wrapped in a warming blanket, packaged and flown by Wales Air Ambulance to the Royal Stoke major trauma centre. Following a full assessment in the emergency department and full body scans he was transferred to ICU.
Josh, from Ellsemere Port, said: “I go hiking a lot, and on this occasion I remember getting out of the car, having a smoke and walking through the woods, and taking pictures. It was more of a gentle stroll to what I am used to. I remember it being a bit slippery, and that’s when I fell.
“I didn’t really feel any pain because I was out, but after coming round in hospital I slowly started to piece things together.
“I was going to Spain a month later and had an appointment with a doctor about something else when I came out of hospital, and when I went to see him and he read my medical records he could not believe what I’d just been through”.
Josh, who works as a security guard, had suffered from a broken coccyx, parietal scalp haematoma, multiple whole-body bruises and a 4cm wound behind his left ear. He was kept asleep and on the breathing machine for three days in the intensive care unit and was woken up and taken off the ventilator on day four. Within a couple of days he was eating and drinking and walking with the physiotherapists. He was discharged home after only 6 days in hospital.
He has since been back to meet the medics who helped to save his life.
“I was eager to see them,” he said.
“They patched me up and got me to hospital, and after that I hadn’t heard from them. I was ‘dead’ for eleven minutes and I think they thought I wasn’t coming home.
“I wasn’t even doing any vigorous hiking, it was a freakish accident. It could have happened to anyone.
“But I’ve no doubt without the help of my friend and the passing doctor, followed by the expertise of the EMRTS medics, I might have died. I’m very grateful to them all”.
EMRTS consultant Gareth Rhys Thomas said: “When we reached Josh initially it was clear that Josh’s friend Rob and bystanders had done an incredible job in getting him out of the water and delivering CPR.
“Josh was still critically unwell and in a difficult to access location but with some excellent team working with the Ogwen Mountain Rescue Team and the Welsh Ambulance Service we quickly extricated him up to the road where we could deliver full critical care prior to transferring Josh to the Major Trauma Centre in Stoke.
“It is a privilege to work for a service that enables us to deliver the same level of care to patients in rural locations that can be delivered in hospital.”
Main picture: Josh and Benji visit EMRTS crew to say thanks to those who saved Josh