Mountain heroes to feature on ITV series
A team of mountain heroes are to see their heroics feature on national television.
In 2008, a team of air cadets and their leaders from 346 (Tynemouth) squadron helped save the lives of seven Belgian cimbers in the French Pyrenees.
Will Close-Ash, a teacher from Whitley Bay, and Emma Elliott, a teacher from Wallsend, were leading a group of six air cadets to climb the pic du Canigou mountain when they found two men who had fallen 200m.
Now their heroics is being dramatised for the ITV series ‘Saved’, which will air on Tuesday, January 26, at 9pm.
Will, a teacher at Ponteland High School, said: “We were contacted out of the blue last summer
“One of the programmes producers called me up and asked if I’d be interested in being part of the series.
“We chatted about the rescue and they were really keen to use it in the programme.”
Last summer, Will, Emma and cadet Dominic Jones travelled to London for the filming where they were met by the two they saved, going out for dinner
Dominic said: “We took part in the filming, but hadn’t realised that they’d also been in touch with Jos and Wem, so we had a chance to meet them.
“We just chatted about regular stuff; how all our lives had moved on and what we were all up to.
“What was really nice was hearing about their families and they thanked us again for saving their lives. It was very humbling.”
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Will said: “I’ve watched some of the earlier episode that ITV have produced as part of this series and they are truly amazing stories.
“It’s great to be part of such an interesting series, but at the end of the day, we just did what had to be done.
“I have total admiration for Emma, Dominic and the rest of the team who worked to save those men’s lives on the side of that mountain in 2008.”
For their part in the Rescue, Will, Dominic, Emma, Matthew Chamberlin and James Smith all received awards from the Order of St John.
While on the mountain, Dominic had seen a trail of blood in the snow leading to two lifeless bodies while further up the mountain were a group of stranded men.
During the rescue, Will and Dominic initially looked over the injured pair, before getting more help from Emma and the other cadets.
Will said: “Up to that point I’d never had anyone’s life in my hands. I knew the two guys were going to live or die based on what we did in the next 10 minutes.”
The group tried to keep the casualties warm, as hyperthermia was a real risk to their lives.
Will then decided to bring the other climbers to safety, climbing up the 300m to the ridge they were on.
Mountain rescue airlifted the climbers on the ledge to safety and flew the casualties to hospital.
Wim Magits, one of the casualties, had broken all his ribs on the right side and one rib had penetrated his lung. The other casualty Jos Luyten, was bruised all over his body.
Jos said: ”It’s good there are people like Will and his team to help other people.”
Wim said: “They are friends for life. I’ll never forget them.”