'I was a dead man' says horror smash paramedic

THE paramedic who was involved in a horror microlight crash has described the heartstopping moment when his craft plummeted from 1,200ft and admitted: "As far as I am concerned, I was a dead man."

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Jon Ker, 38, from Rothbury, and pilot and close friend Jim Martin smashed into trees at Bywell Farm, north of Morpeth, after the tail of their small light aircraft fell off.

Although Jon can not remember the incident, Jim has told him about what happened in the December 30 crash.

Jon – who cheated death for the second time after surviving a climbing accident nearly two years ago – said: "Jim can remember everything up to 50ft off the ground and from what he tells me we went nose down at 120knots from 1,200ft.

"Jim heard a noise and the tail had come off.

"He took control and he aimed for the trees so we would hit them.

"That saved us. If he hadn't done that we would have been killed."

The incident left Jon in hospital for just over three months suffering with physical injuries including damage to his legs, a broken nose and cuts and bruises.

He has currently got a titanium rod in his left leg between his knee and his hip and is walking with shoulder crutches.

Jon, who returned home on April 7, also suffered from memory loss.

He said: "I can't remember even getting on the plane. Everything is a complete blur and I also completely lost the whole of January."

In a bid to trigger the return of his short-term memory, Jon's partner Barbara Gibson showed him the Gazette's pictures of the crash.

He added: "I didn't even think I was in a plane crash but I was shown some pictures and I recognised that that was my plane."

Despite the smash, Jon insists that he will fly again.

"I am going to get back into the process of doing my commercial helicopter licence and I will fly again, although not initially because of my mobility, I haven't got the strength in my legs," he said.

He added: "I've been asked 'Are you really going to get in another one?' but I can't remember the crash so it isn't going to play on my mind that much.

"So, in a way I'm quite happy that I can't remember it."

Father-of-one Jon, who works for the Great North Air Ambulance, is aiming to go back to work within the next few weeks and, although he can't fly for a while, is hoping to do some office work.

He is also trying to speed up his rehabilitation by walking as much as he can.

Jon added: "It is a bit of a culture shock when you haven't been back for three months but it is great to be home."

Barbara said: "It's fantastic to have him home."

Jon and Jim had been flying to Eshott when disaster struck.

Jim, who also works for the Great North Air Ambulance, suffered multiple fractures to his head, body, arms and legs in the crash.

Jim, who lives in Hexham, was released from hospital on February 4.

He too admitted that if the aircraft hadn't have been cushioned by the trees, neither of them would have survived.