Update: Crash hero Phillip helps drag survivors from flames
PUBLISHED: 18:58 13 May 2008 | UPDATED: 21:11 26 October 2009
A FORMER Hatfield man says he does not regard himself as a hero after he helped survivors from a bus crash that killed nine people. Phillip Palmer, 42, and his wife Sandra, 47, were aboard the bus that crashed travelling from Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt on a
A FORMER Hatfield man says he does not regard himself as a hero after he helped survivors from a bus crash that killed nine people.
Phillip Palmer, 42, and his wife Sandra, 47, were aboard the bus that crashed travelling from Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt on a day trip to the Pyramids on May 1 when it overturned and exploded into an inferno.
Mr Palmer, 42, who was born in Cherry Way, Hatfield, and is a former pupil at Hatfield School, helped his wife escape from the wreckage.
She suffered a broken leg, broken collarbone, four broken ribs and crushed hand.
The couple, who live in Arlesey, Beds, flew back home on Sunday and Mr Palmer spoke exclusively for the first time since his return.
"The crash was horrific. Initially, you can't believe what has just happened - it's total disbelief.
"But before we could take comfort in the fact that we'd both survived the crash, the fire started and we realised we were back in a life threatening situation - with a fire one side and a serious drop the other. It was like a double nightmare."
Mr Palmer, who owned Mecnov Products, a plastics injection moulding company making garden products in Fiddle Bridge Lane, Hatfield, said: "I can only assume it was driver error. I guess he fell asleep.
"There were no other vehicles involved, the road was straight and I didn't hear a blow out.
"Do I consider myself a hero? No... I don't think anyone considers themselves as such.
"It was an emergency situation, people desperately needed help and I was more able-bodied than most, so I just did what I could at the time.
"The first ambulances didn't arrive for over two hours and the nearest medical base was two to three hours away. That's a long time to be sat in the desert, especially if critically injured.
"You have to do something, even if it's just applying a simple tourniquet.
"We were expecting to hear helicopters any time, but they didn't come.
"Being home is a real relief. We were hospitalised for 10 days in Egypt before we were deemed fit to fly. Our family and friends have been fantastic and really took the pressure off at a difficult time. My sister Angela Malster and my mother Gladys Palmer worked relentlessly, co-ordinating with the Foreign Office to ensure a smooth transition back to the UK."
He said: "Sandra remains hospitalised and faces surgery to rebuild her left hand. She has a catalogue of injuries including a broken collarbone, four broken ribs, broken and crushed fingers, severe contusions to the lower back, broken leg, cuts and bruises all over.
"I haven't left her side since the crash and she has been incredibly brave to cope with the intense pain throughout.
"Any one of these injuries would be difficult to cope with, but add them all together and it's unthinkable. I'm very proud of her.
"I'm fine, just aches and pains. So at least I am able to look after her.
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