A SOUTH Yorkshire firefighter has spoken of his “instinctive reaction” after realising he was the first person on the scene of the M62 crash, in which a woman tragically died.
John Nichol, an off-duty firefighter on Doncaster Blue watch, just happened to be passing as a passenger in his father’s car, when he saw the lorry and minibus, which were involved in a collision shortly before midday on Friday.
John said: “I got out to see if I could help, and realised there was only me there.
“First I saw a lady at the back of the minibus and realised her leg was severely broken. Then I put my head through the roof and just saw a mass of bodies. I think there were 11 or 12 in there, with various injuries, and around five people were out of the vehicle, hobbling around.”
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch video report of the crash.
38-year-old John’s training quickly kicked in and he set to work: “I tried to calm people down and, although a bystander had called 999, I called them back to say this was a major incident and that several resources and air ambulances would be needed. Then I got the first aid kit out of my dad’s car and triaged as many as people as I could.”
John left the more seriously injured to be treated by on-duty emergency services who had the full range of medial equipment at their disposal before returning to his dad’s car.
South Yorkshire’s Assistant Chief Fire Officer, John Roberts, said: “John’s actions were heroic in the circumstances. We will find out the full details next week and, with John’s permission, I would like to put him forward for consideration under our Chief Fire Officer’s commendation scheme, which recognises outstanding conduct.
“Our staff are well known for their bravery and firefighting skill. This incident also shows their instinct to respond to any rescue situation, and ability to provide emergency medical attention. However, it is very sad that John’s skills were needed in such tragic circumstances. On behalf of South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, I pass my condolences to the family and friends of the lady who was killed.”