Meet the miraculous survivors saved by YAA

The people in the photo collage are just a handful of patients that Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA) has treated and flown to hospital over the last 22 years.

Our new campaign aims to raise awareness that a serious incident could happen to anyone, at any time, anywhere, and express the importance of our life-saving Charity across Yorkshire.

Every year, YAA treats a diverse mix of patients. In 2021 alone we responded to 1,712 incidents and over the last 22 years, we have flown more than 8,300 patients to major trauma centres across the region, often for life-saving treatment.

Photo of Professor Ben Von Hout

Professor Ben Von Hout

Cardiac Arrest

Professor Ben Von Hout suffered a near-fatal cardiac arrest, in York in May 2019. Speaking of his incident, Ben said “The faster you are at hospital, the better the results are and of course going in the helicopter decreases the time between symptoms and have a stent placed. I can only be thankful to everyone doing such a good job. I can’t believe how lucky I am.”

Do you know the difference between a cardiac arrest and a heart attack? Read our article HERE to find out more.

Photo of Kayanna Nicol

Kayanna Nicol

Road Traffic Incident

On 10th April 2019 Kayanna Nicol from Doncaster, who was seven at the time, accidentally walked into the pathway of an oncoming vehicle. The back wheel of the car caught her leg and split her femur bone, causing massive trauma.

Kayanna was flown to Sheffield Children’s Hospital, where she was rushed into a five-hour surgery to save her leg.

Kayanna’s father, Keith, said “She received excellent attention and the treatment that Kayanna received was second to none I couldn’t fault anyone, they are all brilliant people.”

Read Kayanna’s full story HERE.

FACT: Road traffic collisions are one of our top five most responded to incident types

Photo of Kayanna Nicol

Anthony Burman

Motorcycle Incident

Anthony Burman from North Yorkshire was involved in a serious motorcycle racing incident at Elvington racetrack, near York, in 2009. Speaking of his incident, Anthony said “YAA came to my rescue, and even though they had to straighten my legs to get me in the helicopter, they did it with such professionalism, I will forever be in the debt of YAA.

I was told in 10 to 15 years I would need a hip replacement, but 13 years on and I regularly run during the week and mountain bike at the weekend, something that I could never have imagined whilst laid in high dependency, and subsequently in a wheel chair for months and with a back brace on.

Without Yorkshire Air Ambulance I would not be where I am today. You just never know when you , or your family may need these heroes.”

Photo of Nigel Atkinson stood next to his motorbike

Nigel Atkinson

Motorcycle Incident

On the 26th of September 2019, Nigel Atkinson was riding his motorcycle on the M18 motorway near Thorne. As he was passing an articulated good vehicle the prop shaft from the wagon flew off into the front wheel of his bike, resulting in Nigel coming off his bike at 70mph, causing him serious injury. A passer-by named Matthew, who was driving his van, positioned his vehicle to protect Nigel so that no further harm came to him on the busy motorway and then started CPR immediately and continued until the emergency services arrived. We despatched our air ambulance helicopter and flew Nigel to hospital for further treatment. Nigel says “I am eternally grateful to YAA and to Matthew for his heroic efforts.”

FACT: In 2021 we responded to 86 motorcycle-related incidents across Yorkshire

Photo of Nigel Atkinson stood next to his motorbike

Photo of Robert Wood

Robert Wood


Robert Wood was doing some maintenance work on the 106-year-old bells at Middleham Parish Church in Wensleydale, when he slipped and fell several feet onto part of the mechanism, impaling his chin on a metal peg. Yorkshire Air Ambulance crews flew Robert to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesborough for an urgent four-hour operation on his jaw.

“The land and then air ambulance were there very quickly, and I was just so grateful to be flown to hospital within minutes. They saved me from what would have been a long and painful journey of over an hour on winding roads.” said Robert.

Read Robert’s full story HERE.

Photo of Imran Chaudhry

Imran Choudhry


Imran Choudhry from Oldham featured in a one-hour special ‘Critical Hour’ episode of the award-winning television shop, Helicopter ER. His accident, which saw him fall around 100ft down a steep ravine from The Trinnacle Point at Saddleworth Moor, was one of YAA’s most complex rescues in our 22 years of operation.

Imran said ” They are my angels who saved me. I’m so grateful for their help. It was a very challenging rescue and it’s amazing what they did to save me.”

Read Imran’s full story HERE.

Photo of Imran Chaudhry

Photo of Caroline Shepherd on her horse

Caroline Shepherd

Equestrian Incident

Caroline Shepherd from Helmsley, North Yorkshire, was out on her horse at Lockton near Pickering in 2018, when she suddenly collapsed and fell from the horse. Caroline was airlifted to James Cook University Hospital, where brain scans revealed that she had suffered from a subarachnoid hemorrhage. Doctors told her that she was lucky to be alive as she had technically died at the scene before being resuscitated.

Caroline is now a registered YAA volunteer. She says “I owe them my life and I cannot thank them enough for everything they have done.”

Read Caroline’s full story HERE.

Photo of Sophie Shaw on a stretcher, being lifted in to the back of an air ambulance by two members of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance crew

Sophie Shaw

Equestrian Incident

On Monday 14th September 2020, Sophie Shaw was on her riding lesson learning to canter when she unfortunately fell and ended up landing underneath the horse, resulting in him accidentally kicking her. Sophie’s Mum called the emergency services because she was struggling to breathe and we dispatched one of our air ambulance helicopters. Sophie was flown to Leeds General Infirmary for further treatment, where tests revealed that she had fractured three ribs and broken her collarbone.

Photo of Sophie Shaw on a stretcher, being lifted in to the back of an air ambulance by two members of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance crew

Photo of Hayley Delaney

Hayley Delaney

Road Traffic Collision

Hayley Delaney from Bradford was only five weeks away from completing her midwifery course when she was involved in a serious road traffic collision when a car ran a red light at a crossroads near Cleckheaton back in 2013.

Hayley was left with significant brain injuries and had to learn to walk again. She said “The air ambulance team are my angels in the sky. I wouldn’t be here without them. They have saved my life and changed my life, and they will always hold a special place in my heart.”

Read our ‘What do these people have in common?’ press release.

To read more Yorkshire Air Ambulance patient stories, visit our dedicated page HERE.

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