Whilst responding to an emergency, the charity’s H-135 helicopter became grounded at Witheridge Football Club and had to be abandoned for the night. 
On Friday 9 December, at 16:26 Devon Air Ambulance received an emergency call for help and the North Devon crew based at Eaglescott Airfield were tasked to Witheridge, where a casualty was reported to be trapped in a vehicle as a result of a road traffic collision. 
Upon approach, and as the hours of darkness were fast approaching, the crew elected to land at one of the charity’s surveyed Community Landing Sites at Witheridge Football Club. The helicopter was the first emergency response vehicle to arrive at the scene and the critical care crew quickly reached the patient who was cared for at the roadside before being transported to hospital in a land ambulance for further treatment. 
While the clinicians were busy at the scene of the incident, back at the helicopter, Pilot, Capt. Matilda Woodard had become aware of a system fault upon shut down of one of the engines which meant the helicopter could not fly until a safety inspection was undertaken and would require the attention of an Airbus Engineer based at Oxford, who would not arrive until the following morning. 
After discussing the situation with Matt and Sharon, the Managers of the Football Club, it was decided that the club house would remain accessible to the crew and that Dave Hawes, Finance Director at Devon Air Ambulance, would stay with the Aircraft overnight. 

Matt and Sharon weren’t the only ones in the local community who came to the aid of the abandoned crew, Witheridge Fire Station were a great support allowing DAA to store some of their kit there overnight and the owners of the Friday night fish and chip van who insisted on supplying chips to the hungry clinicians. 

Although some overnight snowfall was anticipated, the four inches of snow that the crew woke up to the next morning took many by surprise. This meant that before the helicopter could be recovered from Witheridge, the Helipad at the charity's Eaglescott Airbase had to be cleared of snow in order to recover G-DAAN when serviceable. 

A tough task, as fast as the crew cleared it, the pad was covered with snow again and froze. Eventually a break in the wintry weather meant that the helipad was at last cleared, the Helicopter was fit to fly and recovered from Witheridge, back at base by mid-afternoon and ready to respond once more.

Dave Hawes later commented: 

I can’t thank Matt and Sharon, of Witheridge FC for their hospitality enough. Not only did they supply the crew with hot drinks all evening, they also allowed me to stay at breakfast in the morning. They were fantastic. It was also great to talk to so many people from Witheridge who came along to see the helicopter in the snow. There was a great community spirit.

Devon's community landing sites play an important role in helping us to serve local communities. Find out more about them.