Hillwalker left with broken back in crash saved by air ambulance

Mel Elmer was transported to hospital in just 13 minutes by air ambulance crews.

Woman saved by air ambulance heroes after breaking back in car wreck near Ben Lomond Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance

A woman who feared she was about to die after suffering devastating injuries in a car crash has paid tribute to the air ambulance crew who saved her life.

Mel Elmer and her husband Simon were heading to climb Ben Lomond in early 2023 when a crash with a black truck left her with serious injuries including a broken back.

The truck, which was driving on the wrong side of the road, smashed into the couple’s car just before the car park at the foot of the mountain.

The 45-year-old was left with seven broken ribs, a broken collar bone, a shattered right knee and a broken right ankle, which all required major surgery, on top of breaking her back in two places.

Mel was unable to move the front passenger seat as emergency services rushed to the scene to pull her from the wreckage.

Her husband was left unharmed but thanks to the Scottish Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA) she was transported to the Major Trauma Centre at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

Paramedics managed to get her to hospital in just 13 minutes via the rescue helicopter.

Mel Elmer’s injuries included a broken back and seven broken ribs as a result of the crash. Photo: SCAA.

She said: “People at the scene pulled me from the wreckage – afraid it might catch fire.

“I couldn’t breathe properly or move. They laid me on the ground and I remember thinking – this is it. It all ends here.

“There were voices all around me, asking my name, telling me an air ambulance was on its way. I didn’t think I was going to make it at that stage but I had a real sense of calm – a sense of the inevitable.

“SCAA’s paramedics were amazing – so calm and reassuring. I felt I was in safe hands.

“I heard them saying they had to get me over a hedge and I was aware of being lifted over it and placed in the helicopter.

“SCAA paramedics never left my side – they were something professional and soothing to cling on to.

“I began to have hope – thanks to these guys I might just make it.”

The woman returned to work a year after the crash and was fit enough to climb another mountain. Photo: SCAA.

Mel returned to work a year after the crash and was fit enough to climb another mountain.

“SCAA helped save my life when we crashed that day”, she added.

“When I saw that black truck filling the road in front of us there was no time to react – just a horrible, gut-wrenching sense of the inevitable.

“SCAA came at the darkest of times for me and made a truly awful situation so much better with their professionalism, expertise, speed and calming reassurance.

“They helped me fight – they brought me hope while carrying out their job spectacularly well.

“That amazing crew wrapped me in a sense of – ‘we’ve got you, we’ll get you through this, you’re going to be OK’.

“Now I understand how the charity works I realise what a privilege it was to have them attend me.

“Every time I see them flying now I wonder what sort of miracle they’re off to perform? They’re just amazing.”

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