Rescue drama after motorcycle accident

The rescue at Bickershaw
The rescue at Bickershaw
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A YOUNG motorcyclist was flown to hospital with serious injuries after a major smash at a Wigan industrial landmark.

Emergency services raced to treat the 21-year-old who suffered suspected cervical spine, spinal and pelvic injuries after coming off his motorcycle on the former Bickershaw Colliery site at around 5.30pm on Monday.

Paramedics from the North West Ambulance Service assisted by the specialist hazardous area response team and their all-terrain vehicle, volunteer crews from Bolton Mountain Rescue and a Yorkshire Air Ambulance helicopter all attended the scene of the incident.

Initially ambulance crews struggled to find the spot, which they had been told was off Plank Lane, but two people who knew the area used an off-road vehicle to guide them to the place where the crash had occurred.

The two local guides, Andrew Burgess and Mark Parkinson from Leigh, then used their local knowledge to bring the mountain rescue teams to the site, which was situated in an isolated spot of the former industrial site beyond Fir Tree Flash.

A friend of the injured biker, who stayed with him throughout the incident, also lit a fire to help the emergency services find them at the site among the old colliery slag heaps.

Andrew, 29, said: “Mark and I have a boat on the canal and we were near Plank Lane when we spotted the ambulances driving around, looking as if they were lost.

“Mark knows the area well so we said we would take them there and they could follow. As we were driving down Wigan Road we could see the smoke.

“It was a difficult spot to find, a good five-minute journey from the flash over some very rough terrain. Even in my Land Rover it was hard going.

“Once the ambulance crews were at the scene they asked used to go back and bring the mountain rescue teams to the site the same way.”

Andrew says he was extremely impressed by the co-ordinated rescue attempt and how quickly the crews were able to work and assist the injured biker.

He was put on a long board and specialist stretcher before being airlifted to hospital in Preston.

Andrew said: “I was surprised how quickly the mountain rescue teams got to the scene after being told about the incident through their pagers, especially after I heard they were all volunteers.

“It was good to see how well everyone worked together to get him to hospital.”