In May 2011, Wales Air Ambulance was called to an incident in Carmarthenshire, to a schoolgirl who was lying unconscious in the road.
Natasha Pearce was walking home from school, when her backpack got caught on the trailer of a passing tractor – pulling her into the road, and crashing her onto the concrete.
The 13-year-old lay in the road suffering from head injuries, when her school friends called 999.
Wales Air Ambulance flew to Natasha’s aid, landing at the roadside in 20 minutes. The charity’s crew airlifted her from Drefach, Felindre, to University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.
Natasha said: “I was on the school bus on the way home, and decided to get off at my local shop, just down the road from where I live.
“From then it is a blur and I have not memory of that day, but I was told that a trailer on the back of a tractor had caught my school bag, flipped me over causing me to land face down on the concrete.
“I was in hospital for four days, and spent two of those days unconscious. I woke up on the third day feeling dazed and confused.
“I lost 80% of the hearing in my left ear, fractured my eye socket and broke my collar bone.
“I don’t remember flying in the helicopter, but if it wasn’t for the Wales Air Ambulance crew – I may not be here today.”
Wales Air Ambulance’s south Wales aircraft responded to the incident, flying its emergency crew to the scene to treat her before airlifting her to the specialist care she needed.
The Welsh helicopter charity relies on kind donations to fund its missions, flying over 26,000 missions since its launch in 2001 – all funded by support from the people of Wales.
Every year Wales Air Ambulance needs to raise £6.5million to fund its service, with each mission costing around £1,500.
Natasha said: “Before I was airlifted, I had no idea that Wales Air Ambulance was a charity.
“Since the accident, I have donated any change I have into WAA charity pots.
“The Wales Air Ambulance is such a great charity to help, I'll always be grateful for the help I had from the members of the crew that day.”
Now, six years on from the incident, Natasha still suffers from hearing loss, but has recovered well and is starting a new chapter of her life as she is expecting a baby.
Mark Winter, Wales Air Ambulance Operations Manager, said: “We often don’t get to hear how our patients get on after we airlift them and we are so glad to hear that Natasha has done so well.
“An important part of our job is to run the Children’s Wales Air Ambulance. This is a specialist division of Wales Air Ambulance because our youngest patients need a different range of treatments.
“Our service has been running for over 16 years now, so the children we have rescued over the years are now adults who are reaching new stages in their lives. When we airlifted Natasha, she was a young girl who really needed medical help – and now she is all grown up!
“We would also like to say congratulations to Natasha and her partner who are expecting a little addition to their family, and we wish them the very best for the future!”
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