Two police officers who fought to save a man’s life after a helicopter crash at Booker airfield have won a Thames Valley Police Federation Bravery Award.
PC Nick Kluger and PC Tyrone Powell were called out to attend the horror crash at Wycombe Air Park on the morning of May 5, 2017.
On arrival at the scene, the officers could see the helicopter was on its side and that the airfield’s fire and rescue teams, together with an off-duty paramedic were helping to pull three men from the wreckage.
One of the men clearly had severe injuries while the other two were shaken and bruised by the incident.
PC Powell took on the task of administering CPR to the badly injured man who had lacerations and wounds all over his body.
Both armed response officers are advanced first aiders, and as PC Powell carried on trying to save the man’s life, PC Kluger took control of the incident.
The air ambulance arrived and the crew immediately carried out open chest surgery to revive the man before rushing him to the major trauma centre at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.
Sadly, he died from his injuries a week later.
PC Powell said the scene when the officers arrived was “total carnage”, adding: “It’ll stay with me for my whole career.”
He said: “When you look at a helicopter when it’s whole, it looks nice and metallic, but the actual rotor blades, although they look metal, it’s wood within a metal skin.
“Where the helicopter had come down on its side, and the propeller and the rotor had hit the ground at a great rate of knots, the whole thing had shattered, and it was like a massive shotgun going off inside the cockpit. It was total carnage and his injuries were absolutely horrendous.”
PC Kluger said everyone attending the incident had to put the danger it posed to the back of their minds.
“You tend not to think about that, you’re focused on the task at hand, and we’re trained to deal with that and trained to deal with situations like that,” he said.
“We’ve both been in dangerous situations like that before, and the training does take over, and you crack on and do what you need to do. You fill the gaps where you’re needed.
“I wasn’t needed to assist with any of the first aid. Tyrone through the whole incident did most of the leg work; the only gap for me to fill was to take command of the incident and relay what was going on back to the control room.”
Taking control of the incident meant ensuring follow up responders which included fire and ambulance crews and back up from their police colleagues were properly co-ordinated and in place to offer the right support.
Both officers said they felt honoured to have won a Federation award.
Thames Valley Police Federation chairman Craig O’Leary praised the officers for their professionalism.
He said: “I know they’ll say they were just doing their job but they assessed the situation as soon as they arrived and realised what needed to be done to provide the best possible care for the injured man and to make the scene safe.
“They took control, and we’re very proud of their superb police work throughout the incident.”
The officers will attend an Awards Ceremony in the Thames Valley Policing area on Thursday, March 5, where an overall winner will be announced.