Stricken cyclist thanks YAA for saving his life

March 24, 2023

A cyclist who suffered a major heart attack on a Sunday afternoon ride is says he is lucky to be alive and owes his life to the quick response of Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Stephen Curran, 62, began feeling unwell on his usual 25-mile bike ride from his home in Hillam, near Selby. A dull ache in his shoulder became a crippling chest pain and the psychiatrist realised his life was at risk. He said: “Up to this point I’d had no heart problems and was very active so I didn’t initially have any suspicion that this was a heart attack. “But then the tightness in my chest became a crushing pain and I started to feel short of breath and a bit confused so I rang 999. As I was lying on the ground I remember thinking there was a really good chance that I might die.”

Luckily for Stephen a rapid response vehicle was nearby and Yorkshire Air Ambulance was dispatched and at the scene in minutes. The main artery to his heart was completely blocked and medics realised he needed time-critical surgery. The father-of-four was airlifted to Leeds General Infirmary where just 45 minutes after calling 999 he was having a life-saving stent fitted. Stephen’s story featured in an episode of Helicopter ER, the reality TV series which follows the work of Yorkshire Air Ambulance. Stephen added: “Getting to hospital so quickly literally saved my life. My cardiologist said if I had made the journey by road I probably would not have made it. “The paramedics were so open, honest and reassuring and I’ve had such amazing care by everyone involved. I can’t thank them enough.”

After the surgery and spending three days in hospital last May, Stephen has made a good recovery and is back at work and enjoying an active lifestyle, walking and on his exercise bike each day. Yorkshire Air Ambulance operates two air ambulances from airbases at The Nostell Priory Estate near Wakefield and RAF Topcliffe near Thirsk plus two Rapid Response Vehicles. It serves a population of approximately five million people across Yorkshire. The rapid response air emergency service relies totally on public donations and fundraising to keep saving lives. To find out more go to

Stephen Curran being cared for at the scene. (16-03-01 SU)

Share this article