A dad-of-one has praised rescuers for saving his life after a horror Christmas Eve crash on an icy Highland road.
John Robertson, 32, was travelling on the A882 Wick to Thurso road when his Nissan Navara diesel pick-up truck skidded on ice and flipped over.
Removal man Mr Robertson described how he was “in and out of consciousness” following the crash and feared for his life until the emergency services arrived and cut him free.
He told the Press and Journal: “I was trapped for two hours and was losing consciousness. I had no feeling in my legs and feared the worst.
“The police, fire and air ambulance arrived and I was eventually cut free, but there was a worry about my spinal cord, given I had no feeling.
“But, once I was cut free, I was on the air ambulance helicopter and flown to specialists in Aberdeen within hours. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be here today.”
Despite his pain, he was diagnosed with a trapped spinal cord which thankfully meant he would be able to walk again. He also suffered other serious internal injuries and whiplash and spent the Christmas period in hospital.
Now back at home in Wick, he added: “Finally we can say goodbye to a very strange and difficult year.
“I’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone’s messages, phone calls and to everyone that helped me at the accident and helped cut me out of my truck and to the helicopter crew.
“If it wasn’t for everyone’s help I wouldn’t be here today so thank you very much.
“I’m lucky to still be here today. I suffered bad injuries from the accident. It turned out to be a trapped spinal cord, internal bruising and bad whiplash.”
Ewan Littlejohn, lead paramedic with SCAA’s Aberdeen-based Helimed 79, explained the air ambulance had flown an enhanced medical team to the scene and then airlifted Mr Robertson to the Major Trauma Centre care at Aberdeen.
He added: “We’re glad we were able to bring vital care to him at the scene and then make the journey from Wick to Aberdeen in the shortest possible time.”
SCAA and the Emergency Medical Retrieval Service (EMRS) were part of a multi-service response to the Christmas Eve accident, working alongside the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Police Scotland and the Scottish Ambulance Service at the scene before airlifting Mr Robertson to hospital.
The Scottish Charities Air Ambulance (SCAA) currently operates two helicopters, both EC135-T2is, and one rapid response vehicle – taking expert paramedic care to the scene of time-critical emergencies, whether it be on a road, in a field or at someone’s home.
SCAA then transports patients to specialist hospitals to receive the most appropriate advanced care.
They say a patient’s chance of survival and full recovery are greatly increased if they receive the right medical care within the first hour of injury or illness, adding: “The fast response of SCAA and its ability to reach Scotland’s most remote and rural areas saves vital minutes when every second really does count.
“SCAA can be airborne within five minutes of receiving an emergency call and can reach 90% of Scotland’s population within 25 minutes.
“Working in partnership with the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS), SCAA is an integral part of Scotland’s frontline emergency response network, responding to trauma incidents and medical emergencies across the country, covering an area of more than 30,000 square miles.
“As Scotland’s only charity air ambulance, SCAA is funded by the people of Scotland, primarily through donations, fundraising, events and our life-saving lottery.”