Boy, 14, ‘minutes away from death’ saved when BMW automatically dialled 999October 13, 2019
A car’s emergency system saved the life of a teenager who was seriously injured in a car crash.
A BMW dialled 999 and emergency services were dispatched to save Bradley Duke, 14, who had suffered devastating skull and spine fractures on January 13, 2017.
He was in the backseat heading to school alongside his brother Hayden, who was then nine, when their mum Claire Duke slid on black ice and lost control of the vehicle at 55mph.
Ms Duke, now 40, was rendered unconscious as a result of the collision in rural Sheffield and woke up to the sound of an unfamiliar voice coming from the dashboard.
The female voice told her, ‘we know where you are and help is on its way’, but she didn’t realise the crash had triggered a safety feature in her 2014 BMW 3 Series, which sends for help when the airbags go off.
Ms Duke said: ‘He would not be with us now if it weren’t for that safety feature in the car.
‘If he had been lying there for just a few moments more he would have died.’
Business manager Ms Duke was driving down a hill when she told her children ‘we’re going crash’ after her handbrake failed.
Ms Duke and Hayden only suffered minor injuries in the crash, with Hayden running to get help.
Bradley suffered more serious injuries after removing his seat belt moments before the crash, which his mum thinks he did out of panic.
She first realised how seriously injured Bradley was when she saw that a piece of his skull was missing and his flesh inside was exposed in the footwell of the car.
Seconds after, Bradley stopped breathing and lost consciousness.
Bradley was placed in an induced coma on the road before being flown to Sheffield Children’s Hospital in an air ambulance and taken straight to theatre for brain surgery.
Ms Duke and her partner Mark Szalmer were told he may not make it after he was placed on a life support machine following surgery.
But after nine days Bradley finally woke up.
He spent a month in hospital and, after being discharged, he had to relearn many basic skills like reading and writing.
Bradley’s rehabilitation still continues today but his mum said he is ‘almost back to his best’.
Bradley added: ‘I feel very lucky, if it wasn’t for the technology in the car and the doctors in the hospital, I wouldn’t be here today.
‘It’s amazing what the technology can do. Nobody knew the car had that feature.’
A BMW spokesman said when the airbags are set off in an accident, BMW will call the car via its onboard SIM card.
If it gets no reply from the passengers, emergency services are deployed to the crash scene immediately.
Bradley has since taken part in a fundraising drive to raise over £500,000 for a helipad at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
Original article can be found here.