Cambs woman re-united with people who saved her life after horror smash

At the Magpas Helimedix base, is (centre) Helen McMenamin-Smith, with her lifesavers (l-r) Flight Li

At the Magpas Helimedix base, is (centre) Helen McMenamin-Smith, with her lifesavers (l-r) Flight Lieutenant Chris Pearson, Dr Wayne Kark, husband John Menamin-Smith, lifesaver Alan Chapman, and daughter Alexandra McMenamin-Smith - Credit: Archant

A woman who suffered severe brain, spine and eye injuries in a “horrific” collision was reunited with the people who helped save her on Thursday.

Helen McMenamin-Smith, of Burwell, was driving along Branch Bank, in Littleport, on her way home after meeting friends in May last year when a motorbike collided at high speed with her car.

Having landed on the roof of Helen’s car, the motorbike burst onto flames, causing the roof to cave in and crumple on top of Helen’s head.

Her car flipped over and ended up at the side of the road, leaving her trapped and suffering from life threatening skull fractures, together with severe brain, spine and eye injuries.

As soon as the accident happened, traffic started to build up. Five cars back from the incident scene, were Chris and Nicki Pearson, from Ely, and both RAF Flight Lieutenants.


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The couple were both on leave that afternoon and were on their way to the local pub. Due to the holdup on the road, they both got out of their car to see what was going on, only to find smoke bellowing out of Helen’s car and so they ran towards her. Meanwhile, Alan Chapman, from Littleport, also happened to be driving past and he too stopped and ran towards Helen’s car.

Both Alan and Chris pulled Helen out of the window of her car, leaving their clothes and hair smoking in the heat of the flames.

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They then carried Helen to the other side of the road and as far away as possible from the burning car. Chris and Alan worked alongside Nikki, a nurse who was training to be an RAF doctor at the time, to stop Helen from choking on her own blood.

An off duty paramedic also stopped and helped and they were soon joined by an ambulance crew and Magpas Helimedix, who flew in to provide critical care at the roadside.

Magpas Doctor Wayne Kark and Magpas Paramedic Ryan Warwick sedated Helen and put her in a medically induced coma. They flew her to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge, for further treatment.

A year and five months later and Helen has made a miraculous recovery. She says she would not be here if it wasn’t for everyone involved that day.

On Thursday, Helen, her husband John, and their daughter Alexandra, met with Flight Lieutenant Chris Pearson and Alan Chapman who came to Helen’s rescue last year. Helen also met Magpas doctor Wayne Kark for the first time since the accident.

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