In March 2019, Clive was paragliding over Dartmoor when he was caught by a sudden change in wind speed as he was trying to get more uplift on a thermal. He crash-landed and suffered the impact of his injuries in his knees, hips and lower leg.

Fortunately, Clive had the OS coordinates in his mobile phone and was able to let the emergency services know his precise location. He realised that he was unable to feel his foot and that it clearly needed ‘straightening’!

Following his 999 call, Devon’s Air Ambulance was swiftly dispatched. Pilot ,Craig Bisset, dropped the aircrew off on King’s Tor as close as possible to Clive so that aircrew medics Nick Ratcliff, Paul White and Dr Dave Potter could assess him and administer pain relief. The aircrew then carried Clive back to the waiting helicopter, which had lifted and re-landed further up the Tor, preparing him for the flight to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth.

Despite his lower leg needing surgery including pins and plates, Clive recognised how fortunate he had been not to suffer a broken back. He was strong-minded in his approach to recovery and, although he spent some weeks using a wheelchair, he was determined to be back walking as soon as possible.

Explaining the incident to Patient Liaison Officer, Debbie Gregory, Clive said:

I am a fairly new pilot, so currently I fly with a red ribbon (a bit like a learner plate and easily recognisable by all fellow paragliders). That particular site was new to me but I’d had a site brief and a coach was flying behind. It was a really unfortunate accident; I was caught out by my inexperience, but I’m aware that things could have been a whole lot worse. I was really thankful to see the helicopter arrive and I’m very grateful to the aircrew for helping me at the scene and getting me to hospital so swiftly.

Now, 3 months down the line and following physio and hydrotherapy, Clive is back walking and hoping to take to the skies again later this year. Says Clive:

Thanks to the crew for all that they did on that day in March. I would also like to thank the South Devon Hang-gliding and Paragliding club members for their support, during and after the accident.

We're always grateful to patients who share their stories with us as it is these stories that help supporters find out about our lifesaving service. Are you a former patient and do you have a story you'd like to share? Due to patient confidentiality we only hear from about 15% of those we attend, so we'd love to hear from you to see how you are. 

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Clive with his two dogs and recovering from his accident in hospital.