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Following the heroes of Wales Air Ambulance on S4C

Friday 16th March 2012

""S4C viewers will be climbing to new heights in a series about the Wales Air Ambulance, as ITV Wales cameras follow their work as they respond to emergency calls from people in serious trouble.

The three-part series 999: Ambiwlans Awyr Cymru begins on Monday, 19 March. This is the first in a series of programmes about the rescue services which will also follow the work of the Police force and life in a hospital.

There are three Wales Air Ambulance centres - Caernarfon, Welshpool and Swansea - which serve the north, south and the middle of the country. One of the paramedics is Sam Williams of Menai Bridge, who works with the crew in Caernarfon.

"It was a strange experience to have the cameras follow us to start with, but we soon forgot about them and, of course, the patients always come first," says Sam, who joined the Air Ambulance in September 2011, after working as a paramedic with the Ambulance Service for 12 years.

"A lot of people don’t know exactly what it is that we do. I hope the series will show exactly what we're able to do to help the public.

"The cases we go to are the most serious incidents, where getting to a hospital within an hour of the call is absolutely essential to save the patient's life. In a country like Wales where the journey to the nearest hospital can be up to two hours in an ambulance, the helicopter has been crucial."

The Wales Air Ambulance relies solely on the generosity of the public to raise the £6 million needed annually to maintain the service. The series will showcase the work of raising money and in the first programme we meet Danielle Robertson who decided to work for the charity after she received emergency assistance.

Lowri Morgan presents the series and the experience has reinforced her respect for the service.

"It was an honour to be in the company of these amazing crews and see them at work," says Lowri. "As someone who likes to spend time in the mountains and running in remote areas of Wales it is reassuring that there are crews out there ready to help in a crisis.

"Their courage and professionalism makes you appreciate the task facing them each day as they carry out an essential service which saves lives."

To emphasise the importance of the service, we will hear harrowing tales from patients and their families about how the Air Ambulance came to their rescue. Among them are:

Joe Mault of Ruthin
Joe was playing for Ruthin rugby team in an away match in Pwllheli on the day of his accident. He injured his neck when the scrum collapsed and because of the nature of his injuries the Air Ambulance was called to take him to Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor. Fortunately, Joe is now in good health.

Gwyndaf Davies from Carmarthen
Gwyndaf was working on the roof of a building when he fell onto a hard floor. He was transported to Morriston Hospital, Swansea in the Air Ambulance. His injuries were serious and it was essential that he reached the hospital within an hour or he could have died.

999: Ambiwlans Awyr Cymru
Monday 19 March 9.00pm, S4C
English and Welsh subtitles
Also, on Wednesday 21 March 11:05pm, S4C with English subtitles on the screen
Website: s4c.co.uk
On demand: s4c.co.uk/clic

An ITV Wales production for S4C

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