BBC One’s Ambulance will catch the heroic efforts of London Ambulance Service crews that raced to the scene of a serious collision involving two London buses and a car.
On October 31, 2019, calls started pouring in to the Emergency Operations Centre with reports of multiple casualties from distressed passengers on two buses that were involved in a collision with a third vehicle.
Rachel and Pete, two London Ambulance Service (LAS) incident response officers, each have around 12 miles to travel to reach the scene in Orpington where they take control of the ambulance service’s response to the incident, coordinating the many skilled clinicians to ensure each patient gets the right care as soon as possible.
In all, around 40 London Ambulance Service staff, including a London’s Air Ambulance team, responded to the scene.
Mum and daughter, Nicola and Maisie, who work together on a double crewed ambulance, join LAS colleagues on scene to treat the injured and traumatised.
Maisie tends to one of the bus drivers, treating his injuries and comforting him as the enormity of what has just happened starts to sink in.
Paramedic Maisie has been with LAS for two years, and was just 20 years old at the time of the crash.
She said: “A scene like that is so chaotic, it can feel overwhelming.
“When I look at what other people my age are seeing and experiencing, it’s very different to my job. 20-year-olds don’t really find themselves in those situations.”
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In all, LAS treated 15 patients at the scene of the crash. Sadly, one of the bus drivers tragically died from his injuries.
Garrett Emmerson, London Ambulance Service CEO, said: “It is heart-breaking to see such a scene of devastation where so many people have been injured and tragically, a London bus driver lost his life.
“The expertise and professionalism of London Ambulance Service colleagues is evident for all to see, from the call handlers talking to the injured and traumatised on the phone, to the incident response officers in charge of the scene, to the paramedics providing that one to one care at the roadside.
“We are constantly innovating so that we can keep pace with the various and ever-changing emergency and urgent care needs of 9 million Londoners.”
Mr Emmerson continues: “Often today that can mean sending specialists in midwifery, or mental health, or elderly fallers.
“Sometimes though it means lots of resources in one place, making sense of a chaotic scene, and saving multiple lives at a significant or major incident.
“We come into our own during those dark times and I take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone involved in responding to the incident in Orpington last year, and to those across the Service who have responded to any large scale incidents in the capital.”
What caused the Orpington bus crash?
Police were called to Sevenoaks Road at 10.12pm on October 31, 2019 following a report of a multi-vehicle incident.
Officers, the London Fire Brigade and LAS attended and found two buses and a Skoda Octavia in collision.
The driver of one of the buses, 60-year-old Kenneth Matcham from Gravesend in Kent, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Paramedics also treated 15 casualties at the scene. Three of the casualties were treated for serious injuries, and the remaining suffered minor injuries.
In August, a man was jailed following the collision.
Dorjan Cera, 20, of no fixed address was sentenced at the Old Bailey on Thursday, August 27 to seven years and eight months imprisonment.
He was also disqualified from driving for 11 years and four months.
Cera had previously pleaded guilty on Friday, June 26 to:
– Causing death by dangerous driving;
– Causing death whilst unlicensed;
– Causing death whilst uninsured;
– Seven counts of serious injury by dangerous driving;
– Possession of false ID document with intent to deceive.
Cera, who was driving the Skoda was arrested at the scene on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and drug driving. He was taken to a South London hospital as a precaution before being taken to a South London police station.
Cera was subsequently charged with multiple offences.
Ambulance airs on BBC One airs tonight (October 14) at 9pm