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It is a Christmas miracle - Cambridgeshire family say thank you to Magpas

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Sarah and Ben Crosbie with daughter Jess. Picture: Keith Heppell
Sarah and Ben Crosbie with daughter Jess. Picture: Keith Heppell

The family of a man trapped by a hearse in a horrific accident have thanked Magpas for giving them a Christmas miracle.

Ben Crosbie from Cambridgeshire was helping to load the horse-drawn hearse on to a lorry when the winch malfunctioned, leaving him pinned by the ankle and midriff up against the back of the cab.

Ben was trapped for about 40 minutes and after the emergency services finally cut him free, he was flown to Addenbrooke's with severe internal injuries. He has since lost four stone - but believes his waistline at the time helped him to avoid worse injuries.

His wife Sarah is full of praise for the work of the Magpas team, Dr Vijay Sankar and paramedic Daniel Read, as well as the rest of the emergency crews who saved his life.

Sarah admitted their Christmas could have been very different had Magpas had not been on hand to bring a 'hospital' to the scene of the accident via the air ambulance.

Now though Ben is well enough to spend Christmas at home after the family turned their living room into a bedroom.

She said:"The air ambulance flew him straight to Addenbrooke's. When I got to see him he had lost a kidney - it was all too damaged to save. He had a damaged aorta, a damaged spleen, his pancreas was in half and, on top of those ?injuries, he sustained broken ribs, a broken pelvis, extensive bowel damage, and a dislocated ankle with nerve damage.

"He was extremely lucky. If he had not had the care he had at the time and we didn't have an air service like Magpas - they literally brought the hospital to him - it could have been so different.

"It is such a wonderful thing to have him here at Christmas because, when you do think back, we could have been arranging a funeral instead of arranging to have our living room turned into a bedroom to have him at home.

"It could quite easily have gone the worst way. There is no way of describing how grateful we are to Magpas.

"If they had not been there we could not say that Ben would have still been with us. All our emergency services are wonderful and they all helped to save his life. But without Magpas being there and bringing the hospital to Ben that day, the trauma would have ripped through his body. They controlled the trauma and stabilised him before the surgeons could do their work at the hospital."

Sarah added that Ben, a teacher, worked in the school holidays and at weekends as a groom and coachman for a carriage hire company which provided a horse-drawn hearse for funerals and weddings across the region and occasionally in London.

She added:"He was loading a glass hearse on to a lorry for a funeral that was taking place the following day. The funerals are done all over the region so the hearse is loaded on to a lorry to get it to its destination.

"I got a telephone call from the yard owner's wife to say Ben had been involved in an accident and could I pop up there. It was only when I was about to turn up to the yard that I saw ambulances and?fire engines zooming up the road and the helicopter from Magpas in the field. Then I knew it wasn't just an accident. That was probably the worst thing because I had my daughter Jessica, who is 14, and she saw it too. So I was trying to reassure her it was OK without really knowing myself. I didn't know what to expect when I pulled up - it was a horrible feeling.

"I felt extremely helpless. I could not go and hold his hand or even see what the matter was. Your brain doesn't quite function in moments like that. You are not thinking and I found myself in a bit of a daze.

"He was trapped for 40 minutes and I only saw him when they got him out of the lorry. He was quite disorientated and I think they had given him some pain medication. I was kind of joking with him because I have a quirky sense of humour and if I hadn't got that, I think I would have cracked up by now.

"I just thought he had a broken ankle. I didn't think about crush injuries. But then I thought Magpas don't come out for a broken ankle. So you start to have all ?these questions racing around in ?your head."

Now Sarah, who originally hails from Bar Hill and now lives in Chatteris, aims to raise as much money for Magpas as she can, and Ben is set to go back to work early in the new year.

Sarah added:"I've become a full-time carer and ended up doing things for your husband you never thought you would have to. All his day-to-day care is done by me.

"But he is going back to work early next year and even if I have to drive him to school and back at least he will be fit enough to go to work part time. But there comes a point when we want to start getting an element of normality back into our lives. There have been dark times, and you get over one hurdle and then there is another one. But the realisation of how lucky he was has sunk in and he has been a good patient. He is a mentally strong person anyway.

"We are now trying to raise money for the air ambulance. I am doing the Magpas charity jump next year and so there is no turning back."

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