Motorcyclist thanks air ambulance after cheating death in tractor collision

A motorcyclist says he owes his life to an air ambulance crew after he sustained serious injuries in a collision with a tractor at Gaddesby.

Saturday, 15th May 2021, 1:08 pm
Howard Singer, pictured in hospital after he sustained serious injuries in a collision with a tractor at Gaddesby EMN-210515-130057001

Howard Singer (68), from Twyford, says he hasn’t fully recovered two years after the incident, in which the impact forced his helmet off his head and launched him 20 feet.

He was still lying in the road with a fractured skull and vertebrae, a dislocated hip and a collapsed lung when a critical care team with Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance landed in their helicopter in a nearby field.

Howard was given pain relief and oxygen to help his breathing and a special binder was applied to his pelvis to help support his injuries and potentially reduce internal blood loss.

Howard Singer, who sustained serious injuries in a collision with a tractor at Gaddesby EMN-210515-130119001

“I am very grateful for what the air ambulance crew did for me,” he said.

“If it wasn’t for them and the lady who gave me first aid before the helicopter arrived, I don’t think I would be here today.”

An experienced motorcyclist who has ridden bikes since he was 17, Howard is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists and has completed advanced motorcycle training provided by Leicestershire police.

But a series of unfortunate coincidences conspired to cause the collision which so nearly killed him back in June 2019.

Howard Singer on his beloved motorbike at Launde Abbey EMN-210515-130108001

Howard recalls being behind slow-moving traffic going through Gaddesby, where there were parked cars at the side of the road due to an event being held at the local school.

On leaving the village on a straight road with good visibility he committed to an overtaking manoeuvre when a tractor suddenly turned right, across the front of him. He was unable to stop and the machine smashed head on into the agricultural vehicle.

The driver of one of the cars in traffic was an armed forces-trained First Aider and she put Howard into the recovery position and kept him awake until the emergency services arrived.

It was decided to take him to the Major Trauma Centre at Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre by land ambulance so that if his chest injury caused him to become more unstable and deteriorate further, he could be anaesthetised – a procedure that cannot be safely conducted in flight in the rear of the helicopter.

The air ambulance critical care team accompanied him in the land ambulance and did a clinical handover to the hospital trauma team on arrival.

Howard’s facial lacerations were stitched and he was taken to the operating theatre to have his hip relocated before spending 10 days in traction and then having his hip socket repaired by surgeons.

He was able to go back to his job as an engineer’s pattern maker on a phased return in November 2019 and had just got back to full-time hours when Covid-19 struck. He was furloughed and then retired last August.

Howard raised £4,000 for the air ambulance charity with a live music event and auction at The Saddle Inn at Twyford last year.

His driving licence was initially suspended due to the brain injury he sustained but he was allowed to ride again last year.

“I don’t think I am 100 percent recovered but I am just so glad I am still alive and doing what I can do,” he said.

“People in rural communities like ours really understand the importance of the local air ambulance and I am a living example of the difference it can make when it attends an incident.”

Anyone wishing to support the charity can visit or call 0300 3045999.