Accident report re WMT’s Barry Roberts

WMT’s Commercial Director has been out of action for a few weeks following an accident which explains why some WMT admin/loading of 2018 course dates is behind schedule. Sorry about that.

Here is an update and Bazza’s story:

On 24th Oct I crashed my paraglider in North India, after a week of brilliant mountain flying. I suffered serious facial fractures, a broken nose, 6 broken ribs (L 6-11) and bilateral collapsed lungs. I spent 18 hours on the mountainside at 3900m before being helicopter rescued the next day. It was a very cold night. Thankfully a Russian pilot saw me and landed near me at great personal risk to assist me. He bundled me into a depression out of the wind and stuffed pine branches around me to insulate me.

At dawn, the chopper winched me off the mountain and whisked me to the very close military hospital for stabilisation, then I was moved to the nearby state hospital. The next day I was flown to Delhi where I was operated on for 10.5 hrs to fix my face (base of skull fracture, smashed R eye orbit and broken upper jaw). No treatment for the rib fractures (ouch!) except a chest drain (OUCH!). Impressive xray though. I remained in hospital for about 3 weeks before all the air bubbles in my skull had been absorbed and I was deemed fit to fly. A UK doctor flew out to escort me home. Throughout this ordeal, my friend Ali Westle stayed by my side, having given up most of his flying holiday to do so and then vowing to remain with me for however long it took for me to be well enough to fly home. What an angel.

Miraculously, despite slamming into a granite rock wall, I didn’t injure my spine or any long bones. So I can walk but I’m weak and have a lot of muscle wastage from being bed ridden. My teeth are wired so I’m only eating via a straw. I dropped 14kgs at my low point; now about 5kgs under my ideal wt. Maybe no turkey dinners for me this xmas unless the wires come off.

Many people played a role in my rescue and treatment. I will be forever grateful to “the Russian”, the guys at SPOT, the Indian army for deploying the chopper, the diligence of my travel insurers, the British diplomats who kept tabs on me, Darren Hepple who came back to Delhi with me initially, the brilliant teams of Indian neurosurgeons, plastic surgeons, dental surgeons, physios, dietitians and nurses at the Apollo Hospital who cared for me, my great UK friends Dr Harvey Pynn and Dr Ali Cobb who supervised the care I received in India and who helped and supported Eadaoin in making sense of it all, Dr A J who brought me home, Ali Westle my bedside angel and above all to my wife Eadaoin who held it together, once again, and who now has to endure my grumpiness! And lastly, thank you to my gorgeous daughters Anna and Sophie who appeared by my side in the dark on that cold horrible night and kissed my bleeding face and told me it would be OK. The Eagles were right; “Love will keep us alive”.

I next see the maxfax surgeons in Liverpool 12 December to see where I go from here in terms of further treatment.

Future WMT Medic course delegates can look forward to hearing the full story – with photos!
Take care everybody and happy holidays.
Baz Roberts