St John volunteers carry out Devil’s Dyke rescue

snow support

Volunteer members of St John Ambulance were involved in a dramatic rescue last night after three men were injured while tobogganing at Devil’s Dyke near Brighton, Sussex.

Support in the snow

St John Ambulance was supporting the ambulance service by providing volunteers and 4x4 vehicles to get through to those who needed them in the snow.

Andrew Tombs, County Ambulance Officer for St John Sussex, who is also a full time paramedic and Dave House of the charity’s Worthing unit received a call at approximately 9.30pm on Monday 2 February requesting assistance at the bottom of a steep slope where the three men had landed after falling from their sledge.

The nature of the location made reaching the men impossible from the top of the slope and so Andrew and Dave were led nearly one mile cross country in their St John 4x4 vehicle by the searchlight of a police helicopter until they finally were able to reach the casualties and assess their injuries, which were serious. Once they were considered to be in a stable enough condition to be moved, all three men were driven up the roadside by Andrew and Dave, where they were transferred to South East Coast Ambulances and taken to hospital.

Dramatic rescue

Speaking of the rescue, John Newman, Head of Operations Support at St John Ambulance National Headquarters in London, said: 'It's amazing the things people get up to in such appalling weather conditions. Devil's Dyke is very steep and therefore very dangerous. It was an excellent example of collaboration between emergency services as we were led to the scene by a police helicopter which is definitely not something volunteers get to do everyday.

'Our best wishes go to the three guys and we wish them a speedy recovery from their various injuries, although we suggest they use their toboggan on a more gentle slope next time and keep their sledging to daylight hours!'

Further support

During the chaos caused by the snow, St John Ambulance volunteers from across the country were also busy assisting the ambulance service by providing backup to their crews and transporting medical staff between hospitals and surgeries.