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Charity air ambulance saves hillwalker in 1000th call-out

The helicopter airlifted Allan Thornhill off Schiehallion after he suffered chest pains.

Schiehallion: Air ambulance called out to hillwalker (file pic).
Schiehallion: Air ambulance called out to hillwalker (file pic). Perth Picture Agency

Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance made its 1000th life-saving mission at the weekend after a hillwalker began suffering severe chest pains in Perthshire.

The helicopter, which is based at Perth Airport, was called out after 57-year-old taxi driver Allan Thornhill became ill while ascending Schiehallion with his wife Lesley.

The couple were helped by another hillwalker Gavin Law, who heard Mrs Thornhill shouting for help.

Mr Law, an army lawyer, said: "I heard a woman shouting for help further up the slope and found her husband doubled over on the ground looking very unwell.

"He was having difficulty breathing and was complaining of severe pains in his chest and I realised it was pretty serious. I immediately dialled 999. They kept me talking and said help was on its way."

The air ambulance (SCAA), Scotland's only charity-funded helicopter, was able to land in the remains of an old croft house ruin 300m downhill from Mr Thornhill.

The casualty, who is now recovering at his home in Troon, said: "I felt real fear and panic. I knew we were miles from anywhere and I was getting worse - the pain was intense across my chest and jaw.

"I was drifting in and out but when I heard the helicopter and saw it land further down the hill I remember a great wave of relief and when the paramedics were at my side I started to feel new hope."

A further six other hillwalkers who had come across the scene helped the two helicopter paramedics to carry Mr Thornhill down the steep ground to the aircraft.

He was flown straight to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee in 20 minutes, a journey that would have taken more than an hour and a half by road.

After being treated by medics, Mr Thornhill returned home to recuperate. He has vowed to support the charity once he returns to health.

He added: "SCAA is worth its weight in gold to the people of Scotland. I was able to see my grandchildren enjoy their Easter eggs thanks to this amazing team, it could so easily have been a totally different outcome without them.

"They are heroes. I owe them my life and I promise I will make it to the top of Schiehallion one day, sponsored by all my friends and family, to raise money for SCAA in order that they can keep helping people like me every day in Scotland."

The helicopter was launched less than three years ago and has flown almost 87,000 miles.

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