Isle of Wight holidaymaker thanks air ambulance for helping to save her life

A lady visiting the Isle of Wight from Lincoln has praised Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance for saving her life when she fell from a sea wall, fracturing her skull and spine, in May this year.

Janine Ward, 71, was left semi-conscious and with a large wound to her head when she slipped and fell nine feet onto concrete steps in Bembridge, Isle of Wight, in May this year, just hours after she and her husband Trevor, 72, had unpacked their bags.

Due to the severity of her injuries, the air ambulance and coastguard were called to provide critical care and transport her to the region’s major trauma unit, University Hospital Southampton.

A doctor and paramedic from the air ambulance service administered strong pain relief and medication to improve and maintain Janine’s blood pressure, which had fallen very low. Once stabilised, Janine was airlifted to hospital by air ambulance where she underwent emergency surgery. She now relies on a wheelchair for everyday life.

A team of medics loading a patient onto a helicopter that has landed on a beach at night

The team performed a ‘hot load’ with support from the Coastguard (credit: Island Echo)

“I don’t want to sound dramatic, but Trevor thought I was dead,” said Janine. “It wasn’t until I let out a groan that he learned I was alive. He is sure I wouldn’t have made it without the air ambulance.”

While Janine recovered from her injuries, the rest of her family carried an extra burden.

“On the very same day as my fall, my brother dropped down dead. Trevor couldn’t tell me for two weeks because I just wasn’t strong enough to cope with it. It was awful,” she said.

“Life can change in the blink of an eye.”

Janine was later moved from Southampton to the Sheffield Spinal Cord Injuries Unit via a hospital in Nottingham. And, on 14 September, four months after her fall, she returned home.

In September 2022, Janine’s son, Russ, raised £1,464 for the charity that saved his mum’s life, by completing the Lincoln City Centre Half Marathon.

The charity has now launched its Christmas video, created by clips from members of the public, asking supporters to be there for them during the festive period. Supporters can watch the video below.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance responded to 148 potentially life-saving call-outs last December, including 10 over Christmas eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Janine said:

“It was always a target to get home for Christmas as it is always a special time for us as a family. This year will be especially special. I want to say thank you to the Air Ambulance crew that helped save my life.”

It costs the air ambulance charity approximately £15,000 a day to maintain its service, with each mission costing on average £3,320.

For people wanting to make a direct impact on lives in the region, the charity says small and regular gifts can help it plan for the future.

To sign up to give monthly, visit