New Series Premieres on Friday 21st March at 8pm on five

Dermot Murnaghan presents this brand new ten-part series exploring some incredible accounts of life-threatening emergencies and daring rescues. Combining powerful testimonies from the people involved with reconstructions and genuine footage,each edition tells the dramatic true stories behind Britain’s most extraordinary acts of bravery. Among the stories featured in this opening instalment are those of a navy helicopter crew who rescued villagers during a flash flood in Cornwall, and a pair of rally drivers who came to the aid of a rival team.

“The difference between life and death is often luck, sometimes training and –just occasionally – outright bravery,” says Dermot Murnaghan. “This series celebrates everyday heroes who put their lives on the line.” The first such hero is Warrant Officer Bob Yeomans, part of a Royal Navy helicopter rescue crew based at Culdrose in Cornwall. In 2004, a flash flood in Boscastle presented the crew with one of the toughest rescue missions of recent times. By the time Bob and his colleagues arrived at the scene, the villagewas engulfed in water. “It was like a Hollywood disaster movie,” he recalls.

With people all around who needed to be saved from the deluge, the helicopter crew had to decide who was in the most danger. They focused first on the Evans family –dad Andrew, mum Kim and their three young children –who had clambered onto the roof of the visitor’s centre. With cars and trees being swept down the road and threatening the building’s integrity, the crew had to act fast. In treacherous conditions, Bob winched down to the apex of the building and began to take the children up one by one.
As he lifted the kids to safety, Bob’s worst fear was that he might drop one of them and have to plunge into the water after them –to almost certain death. Eventually, he saved the entire family –and just in time. Soon after Andrew made it into the craft, the building collapsed. “I have no doubt that had the navy not come and rescued us then, we would all have perished,” says Andrew. “They won’t say that they’re heroes,” adds Kim. “But they are.” Amazingly, nobody died in the Boscastle floods –all thanks to the courageous actions of people like Bob Yeomans.

The next story in this week’s show features a different kind of bravery. During the Swansea Bay rally of 2005, championship favourites Marcus Dodd and Andrew Bargery were having a good race. However, as they came onto the final straight, they lost control of the vehicle and sped into a lake, coming to rest on a grassy bank. The pair knew their race was over, but they climbed out of the car unharmed and waited to be picked up. Back on the track some time later, amateur drivers Paul Jones and Hamish Campbell were approaching the same bend at 100mph, when they too veered off course. However, this car rolled
over and entered the water upside down, leaving the drivers trapped inside. Both windscreens smashed and the car rapidly filled with water. “Everything was very blurred,” recalls Hamish. Standing by the side of the lake, Marcus Dodd and Andrew Bargery saw the whole drama unfold and acted immediately. Jumping into the water, they swam toward the stricken vehicle and fought frantically to free the trapped drivers – who by this stage had stopped moving. After a long battle with the jammed doors, the rescuers managed to drag the other drivers to safety. “If Marcus hadn’t have been there,” says a grateful Paul, “I very much doubt I’d be here today.” “We lost the championship,” concludes Marcus. “But at least we lost it for a good reaason!”

Elsewhere this week, there is the story of a police constable who conquered his deep-seated fear of fire to drag a child from a burning building; and a voluntary air-ambulance crew who came to the rescue of a woman trapped in a car after a serious road accident.

Friday 21st March at 8pm on five

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