Freak accident for boy aged 10 on Exmouth seafront features in new BBC program

PUBLISHED: 07:00 18 December 2018

Santa visits Harry in hospital on Christmas Eve 2016. Picture: DAAT.

Santa visits Harry in hospital on Christmas Eve 2016. Picture: DAAT.


Despite tearing his windpipe Harry remained calm enough to answer the paramedics’ questions calmly and coherently.

Harry and his family visiting Devon Air Ambulance HQ. Picture: DAAT.Harry and his family visiting Devon Air Ambulance HQ. Picture: DAAT.

A ten-year-old boy rescued from Exmouth seafront after a freak accident will soon be featured on national television.

In December 2016 young Harry Tansley was enjoying a festive break scooting along Exmouth seafront with his dad, older brother and a friend, when he lost his balance and fell, hitting his throat against the scooter’s handle bar.

The effect was immediate, with the impact tearing his windpipe, causing air to gather under his skin with every breath he took.

First responders were quick to administer an IV drip, but called for backup from Devon Air Ambulance, which was crewed by two critical care paramedics and a doctor.

Harry’s face, chest and stomach were swelling rapidly, but he and his dad remained calm and Harry was able to answer questions coherently.

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Critical Care Paramedic, John Shaddick, explained: “When we arrived, Harry looked like an eight year old bodybuilder. He was swollen from his head to his groin. But he and his dad were both amazingly calm – Harry really was a perfect patient, particularly considering what was happening.”

Harry was initially treated in the back of the land ambulance, anaesthetic was administered and a tube was inserted to stop his throat swelling shut and to keep him breathing.

While Harry was being looked after, paramedic Nick Ratcliff, advised Harry’s dad and brother what was happening and spoke to Harry’s mum, who was at work in Torquay, on the phone.

Devon Air Ambulance flew Harry directly to Bristol Children’s Hospital, bypassing the most local hospital, so that he received the essential specialist treatment he needed for his injuries as quickly as possible.

Harry was awoken from his induced coma on Christmas Eve with his family at his bedside. His windpipe had ‘healed itself’ and there was no longer any need for surgery.

The next day he was able to enjoy a hospital visit from Father Christmas and went home to spend the rest of Christmas Day with his family.

Harry’s story is being told by the BBC series Close Calls: On Camera, which is in its sixth series and will be released towards the end of May next year.

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