DORSET’S lifesaving air ambulance has today carried out its 10,000th mission.

The striking yellow helicopter was scrambled when a young woman was injured when she fell from her horse at a cross-country riding event in the Shaftesbury area of North Dorset.

She was airlifted to Dorset County Hospital this afternoon.

The patient, 24-year-old Carissa Ealson, was found to have not been seriously injured with no broken bones and she was released after treatment.

Her sister Stacey said: “We are really grateful to the air ambulance for all their help and are so pleased that Carissa is going to be OK. She has now left hospital with some pain relief medication and hopefully will feel better soon.”

The landmark mission for the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, a EC135 helicopter, involved pilot Max Hoskins, paramedic Mark Williams and consultant doctor Ian Mews.

Chief Executive Officer of the charity Bill Sivewright said: “Every one of the missions we fly is the result of somebody suffering a potentially life-threatening injury or accident and it is not a number that we celebrate.

“It simply demonstrates the need for an air ambulance that services the counties of Dorset and Somerset.

“During the past year and with generous support from the public, we have been able to purchase new items of equipment which has not only improved our normal Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS), but has also enhanced our patient transfer capability and in turn has given patients the best possible chance of survival and recovery.

“We would like express our thanks to everyone who supports the Charity and hope they feel as proud as we are, to be making such a difference to so many people’s lives.”

Last year the air ambulance attended 608 incidents of which 238 were in Dorset.

Of the total incidents covered, 273 patients had injuries of a medical nature, 133 were involved in road traffic incidents, 112 were treated with trauma symptoms and 85 needed help after suffering an injury during a sporting or leisure activity. Four patients needed treatment at a more specialist hospital which required an air ambulance transfer and one was involved in an industrial incident.

One of the patients carried was Val Hayes from Dorchester who suffered life-threatening injuries after falling from a tractor which then drove over her.

She fell from the machine when it hit bumpy ground.

Val broke all her ribs apart from three, broke her sternum and collarbone, lacerated her liver, fractured her pelvis and broke both her right leg and ankle.

She remembers nothing until she awoke in Southampton General Hospital a week later. She spent nearly four weeks in Southampton before being transferred to Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester where she could be nearer to home. Val is now back riding her horses and walking her dogs.

She said: “Words cannot describe how grateful I am to the crew of the air ambulance and the ICU staff at hospital. “The prompt attention I received really did save my life.”

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance has attended 10,000 incidents since its launch in March 2000, saving many lives and aiding recovery with outstanding immediate care and rapid delivery to the hospital best suited to meet the patient’s needs.

For more information about the charity see