Why we fly

Michael W’s Story

It’s ironic that a year before my accident I had taken part in an event to raise money for the local air ambulance in memory of my friend’s Dad who died of a pulmonary embolism .The helicopter attended, but sadly it was too late. At the time I didn’t realise I would be needing their services so soon. This proves the local air ambulance is always there for us and you never know when that might be!


When Michael Wye sustained horrendous burns whilst lighting the gas grill at the bottom of the outdoor oven in his garden, the Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance flew him to the specialist care he needed in just 15 minutes.

“I have quite a high pain tolerance but I have never experienced anything like it. I knew I was in a mess. The skin was peeling off my arms,” he says.

Michael’s partner Jen, who is first-aid trained, was quick to act when she saw Michael (37) engulfed in a ball of fire. She immediately phoned 999 and told him to have a cold shower.

“I was in so much pain I could only stand under the water for a short time so I lay on the cold floor,” says Michael.

He began to feel drowsy so to keep himself awake he went and sat on the sofa downstairs and Jen wrapped his arms in cling film to keep moisture in and infection out.

When they heard rotor blades above their home in Wigston near Leicester, Jen rushed outside and put a red towel in the road so the pilot could locate them. The helicopter landed 200 metres away on a nearby industrial estate.

“It took just seven minutes from making the phone call to the air ambulance landing. Seeing the crew walk into the house was such a relief as I knew I was going to become pain free.  By then I was squealing in agony, it was horrendous,” explains Michael.

Due to his injuries, the critical care paramedics were unable to get an intravenous line into Michael’s arms or feet so it was put into his shoulder and the pain relief drugs quickly went to work.

Shortly afterwards a land ambulance arrived at the scene to drive Michael to the air ambulance and he was flown to Nottingham.

It took just 15 minutes to get to the Queen’s Medical Centre where he was assessed before being transferred to the burns clinic at Nottingham City Hospital.

“At the time I was adamant that I didn’t need the air ambulance and there were more urgent cases than me but I didn’t realise there was no burns ward at the local hospital so I had to go to Nottingham. I am blessed that they came and got me where I needed to be so quickly,” says Michael.

He was kept in hospital for three days before being sent home with specialist burns dressings and morphine. He also drank aloe vera juice which is known for its antibacterial properties and being beneficial to skin.

Being self-employed, Michael was keen to return to work quickly and felt well enough to do so after three weeks.