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Pilot's plea for Portland rescue helicopter
A PILOT is calling for the coastguard helicopter to be saved after he was airlifted following a crash.
Marc Taylor, of Abbotsbury Road, Weymouth, was paragliding near Swyre when he lost control and crashed into a field.
He is calling on the government to reconsider its decision to close the helicopter base in 2017 and says the chopper is a ‘valuable resource’ for Dorset.
Mr Taylor, who recently completed his Club Pilot training with Flying Frenzy Paragliding School, said: “It was my first flight since I completed my training.
“We were having a fly around ridge soaring, which is riding the lifts basically. It got a bit stronger and I got blown back over the hill, lost some height and was coming into land.
“I was a bit low and hit the floor from about 20ft. It was quite scary.
“I hurt my back and had a lot of lower back pain.”
He added: “Luckily one of the guys I was flying with was a doctor and he put me on oxygen and told me not to move and called an ambulance.
“The helicopter was there within 10 or 15 minutes and the crew were absolutely brilliant, really friendly and professional,” he said.
“I was put on a spinal board and put into the chopper and was in hospital within 10 minutes.
“I was in hospital for about an hour and as soon as they saw no bones were broken I was able to leave.
“It was muscle trauma in the end so, I’m off work for a couple of weeks but luckily I wasn’t badly hurt.”
Mr Taylor, who works as a tree surgeon, is calling for the helicopter to be saved.
He said: “Although in my case it could have been another helicopter that took me to hospital I feel quite strongly that we need the rescue helicopter in this area.
“There are so many local people who have needed it every year as well as all the tourists. It’s such a valuable resource and critical with all the industry in the sea and all the visitors we have here.
“I would definitely like to thank everyone for helping me.”
* EMERGENCY services were called to a field east of Swyre, off the B3157 coast road on August 11.
Onlookers reported seeing ambulances as well as the helicopter.
A spokesman for South Western Ambulance said crews were alerted at 2.40pm. An ambulance and paramedic in a rapid response vehicle were sent.
The spokesman said the injuries were ‘serious and traumatic’ after the paraglider came down from a height.
A spokesman for Portland Coastguard said: “The helicopter was scrambled to Swyre to a report that a paraglider had fallen.
“The casualty was stabilised and airlifted to Dorset County Hospital.”
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