He was impaled by a metal railing in his crashed car, but has just celebrated his wedding with some of the West Midlands firefighters who saved his life.
“They were all world class,” said 31-year-old civil engineer, Phil Ewins. “Without them, I would have died. Instead, I’ve been able to get married and lift my wife for our wedding photos!”
Phil’s accident features in Episode 2 of the current series of ‘Into the Fire’ – our very own TV show on Really channel. The near-tragedy was caught on helmet cameras worn by our fire crews for the show.
The episode follows firefighters from Highgate Community Fire Station in Birmingham finding Phil with a three-metre metal railing going into his chest and out of his back, pinning him to his car seat.
Phil, from Liverpool, had been on his way to spend a very special weekend with his girlfriend, Dikla. He’d secretly planned a marriage proposal treasure hunt, starting at her home in Shirley and ending at the restaurant in Liverpool where they had their first date.
But his crash put the plans on hold. Hospital doctors put him in an induced coma and he had two operations. Amazingly, just three weeks later, he was discharged.
10 weeks ago I was badly injured in an RTC in B’ham. Now I’m with the family at home enjoying Christmas. Never been more grateful to or proud of our NHS and emergency services @NHSEngland @OFFICIALWMAS @WMASMERIT @HighgateFire @TechRescueWMFS @Trafficwmp @uhbcomms. Thank you all
— Phil Ewins (@PhilEwins) December 25, 2017
Phil can recall the crash in detail. “I remember the doctor arriving at the scene and the car being dismantled around me,” he said. “I listened to the team talking through the options for cutting the bar – and remember really not liking the idea of them using cutters that might twist it.”
However, the arrival of our Technical Rescue Unit with their specialist equipment meant that Phil was successfully cut free – then taken to hospital with a section of the railing still passing through him.
“Watching it all again on ‘Into the Fire’ genuinely shocked me. They were having to make decisions that might end my life, but which were the least worst options.
“I know they look back proudly on how they handled such a complex case in a textbook way. They were amazing – so professional, calm, well-drilled and thorough. World class. All of the emergency services worked together seamlessly.”
In July, some of the firefighters who responded to Phil’s crash were invited to celebrate his marriage to Dr Dikla Arad, who works as a vet.
“Having them at the wedding was one of the highlights of the day. They’re our friends now,” he added.
“My recovery is going really well. It’s almost as if the crash never happened. I hope to run a half marathon next year!”
The ‘Into the Fire’ episode features Crew Commander Joe Poynton, one of the firefighters who responded to Phil’s accident, working side-by-side with a rapid response trauma doctor on Golden Hillock Road in Birmingham.
Said Joe: “We needed to get him out of the car and into medical care as quickly as possible, without making things worse. It wasn’t a given that he’d survive.
“The incident was a ‘first’ for many of us at the scene and I’d never responded to an impalement as severe as this. You’re very aware that the decisions you make could have lasting consequences for those involved.
“We’re all very proud that we were able to give Phil the best chance of survival. The extrication went very well and he was taken away for some excellent hospital care.”
The ‘Into the Fire’ episode was broadcast for the first time on Monday evening (27 Aug). It will be repeated at 8pm this Saturday (1 Sept) on Really channel and is also available to watch on the UKTV Play website.
Episode 3 of the series will be broadcast at 10pm on Monday (3 Sept).
All wedding photos courtesy and copyright of Adam Abbott Photography.