Volunteer helps crash victims

bradley ford

A 20-year-old first aider from Cheadle who had completed a St John Ambulance first aid course days earlier was the first on the scene at Monday night's bus crash in Alton, involving 70 migrant workers on a day-trip to Alton Towers.

Bradley Ford, a manager at his family hotel, the Alton Bridge Hotel, was out walking his dog when he heard a loud rumble and thought it was thunder, but soon realised after hearing shouts and screams that it was something serious. He ran to the scene and saw a double decker coach had gone over a bridge and into his neighbour’s garden.

He said: 'I initially thought it was a car but as I got over the brow of the bridge I could see a double decker bus. I got to the top of the driveway and there were people in the garden bleeding and people trapped in the wreckage, helpless and moaning.

'Casualties were walking around wounded and in shock. I came across three girls who were on the ground with head wounds, one bleeding from the ear indicating a damaged skull. They were all foreign workers so I tried to say I was a first aider and ask them where it hurt but they didn't understand. I used sign language to get them to compress and elevate their wounds and gave them blankets. One of the girls had a gash around here eye which I tended to.

'The lady who owned the house called an ambulance and we worked together to give people blankets and help them until the emergency services arrived.'

Bradley, a former lifeguard with a history of helping others, continued: 'My grandad is Polish and I know some words so I tried to remember these to make people feel more comfortable and reassure them and make them feel safe and trust me. Luckily some people spoke English and helped translate so people knew they were being looked after.

'I also helped a young man from Latvia. This was someone I stayed with until he was put into an ambulance. He was the last person to be put in. He had an injury at the top of his neck and on his hand and was walking around bleeding. I got him to lay down on a sun lounger and along with the owner of the house we elevated his head and kept it still.

'The course I recently did with St John Ambulance helped me realise that communication was important. Nothing can fully prepare you for that kind of situation, but I think I was much more prepared after that training.’

The people on the board the bus were agricultural workers from Latvia, Lithuania, South Africa and Poland and came from Peterborough on a staff day out to Alton Towers. Bradley says he is interested in finding out how they are recovering from their injuries.

Harry Dymond, Chief Commissioner Training and Marketing, said: ‘Bradley showed real strength of character reacting with care and compassion in what must have been a very difficult situation. We know that Bradley has recently joined St John Ambulance as a member and we are very proud to have him in the organisation.’