Sheffield teenager survived horror crash thanks to automatic 999 alert system in car

The family of a Sheffield teenager who survived a horror crash say an automatic 999 alert system in the car he was travelling in saved his life.

Friday, 2nd November 2018, 9:28 am
Updated Friday, 2nd November 2018, 9:33 am
Bradley Duke was seriously injured in a crash in Sheffield

Bradley Duke, aged 14, was seriously injured when the BMW he was travelling to school in crashed into a wall in Totley in icy conditions.

Bradley Duke was seriously injured in a crash in Sheffield

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Everyone in the car was knocked unconscious, but the BMW alerted emergency services using an automatic system to give rescuers the car's exact location.

Since April this year, the eCall system has been compulsory in all new cars in the EU. It calls the 112 emergency number if an airbag is deployed.

When Bradley's mum and younger brother regained consciousness, emergency services were already on their way.

Bradley Duke is raising cash for a new helipad at Sheffield Children's Hospital

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Bradley's mother Claire said: "Without the BMW, Bradley wouldn't be here today.

"By the time I came around, the road ambulance was moments away and the helicopter arrived shortly afterwards.

"It had snowed the night before and we'd recently moved to Sheffield. I didn't know the road well.'

Bradley Duke was seriously injured in a crash in Sheffield

Bradley had just taken his seatbelt off to retrieve something his brother had dropped when the car crashed.

He suffered multiple fractures to his skull, face, spine and wrist in the smash.

Mrs Duke and Bradley's younger brother, Hayden, suffered less serious injuries as they were wearing seatbelts.

Bradley was airlifted to Sheffield Children's Hospital in a race against time after the crash on January 13 last year.

He underwent a six-hour operation and spent more than a month in hospital, including nine days in a coma.

Now his family has is raising cash to help pay for a new £6 million helipad at the hospital.

The helicopter currently lands in Weston Park, opposite the hospital, and patients have to be stretchered across the busy A57 to A&E.

Mrs Duke said: "They said to me, 'best case, he'll make a full recovery; worst case, he'll never wake up'.

"I didn't know whether I was ever going to see him again."

Bradley's family, who live in Middlewood, said they do not know what long-term impact the crash will have on the teenager, who struggles with his short-term memory, but he has returned to school.

Claire said: "He wanted to be in the Army before the accident but now he wants to do something to save lives.

"We don't know what that will be yet, he just said he wants to help people, fix things and put a little piece of the world back together."

She added: "Building the helipad and expanding the emergency department would help ensure the staff have the facilities they need to save more lives like Bradley's.'

David Vernon-Edwards, director of the Children's Hospital Charity, said: "A new helipad and expanded emergency department has never been more needed as we strive to build a better future for patients like Bradley at Sheffield Children's Hospital."

Visit to find out more about the appeal.