Page last updated at 11:11 GMT, Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Paramedic's Afghanistan rescue bravery

Tony Stephens
Tony Stephens, 37, spent three months in Afghanistan

A paramedic usually based at a Denbighshire ambulance station helped rescue wounded soldiers while under fire in Afghanistan.

Tony Stephens, from Rhyl, was part of an RAF medical emergency response team in his role as reservist paramedic and spent three months in Helmand province.

Mr Stephens, whose helicopter was hit by gunfire, ran to the aid of the two seriously injured soldiers.

The 37-year-old corporal has been put forward for a military award.

Mr Stephens, who is based at Rhyl ambulance station, spent three months being despatched from Camp Bastion to bring casualties off the ground in Helmand province.

In one incident, the RAF team was under fire as it flew into Sangin, Helmand province, to help save the lives of two soldiers.

"As we landed we took two rounds, one in the side and one above the pilot's head which went through a hydraulic pipe," he said.

You have got a job to do and you just do your job - you don't have time to think, you just up and do it
Paramedic Tony Stephens

"Hydraulic fluid ended up all over the pilot but he actually managed to fly the aircraft back."

The casualties were about 100m (328ft) away from the Chinook helicopter but moving slowly because one of the injured was being carried on a poncho.

Mr Stephens, part of 4626 Squadron based at RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire, could see the troops desperately needed help so he jumped off the helicopter ramp and ran towards them.

With tracer rounds passing close to his legs, he reached the injured soldiers and helped carry the first casualty to the helicopter.

The other troops on the ground then helped the second injured soldier reach the helicopter.

Both casualties eventually died despite the team's efforts.

Trauma cases

"You have got a job to do and you just do your job - you don't have time to think, you just up and do it," said Mr Stephens, who was part of a team of four including another paramedic, a doctor and a nurse.

"I did what I thought was the right thing to do. The right thing for me was to grab the stretcher and get them on board."

He is now set to be recognised for his bravery with his name being put forward for a military award.

Mr Stephens said he had spent a "very busy" three months in Afghanistan but the work had given him valuable experience dealing with trauma cases.

"I dealt with about 170 patients. They ranged from children, right the way through to British and Afghan army, to treating the Taliban," he added.

Print Sponsor

Reservists at war in Afghanistan
01 Dec 09 |  England
Reservists at war in Afghanistan
30 Nov 09 |  In Pictures
Gran heads for Afghan front line
21 Jul 08 |  Wales
RAF medics train with 999 staff
07 Sep 07 |  England

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific