HEART attack victim Michael Cane has thanked Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance for saving his life.

Mr Cane was in Dulverton when he collapsed on the pavement following a cardiac arrest and after being admitted to Musgrove Park Hospital is back to full fitness.

He is one of over 9,000 incidents the ambulance service has attended since its launch in March 2000.

He said: “The crews were calm, attentive and very efficient.

“My memory is quite jumbled but what I clear about is the amazing work they did that day and they deserve the highest praise possible.

“Words cannot describe my appreciation and admiration for them.”

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance attended 323 incidents in Somerset last year and have now flown over 9,150 missions since its launch in March 2000.

The busiest month of the year for the service was August with 72 call-outs, followed by July with 62 emergencies. The busiest day of the week was a Saturday.

Of the 615 incidents attended, 280 were of a medical nature, 125 were road traffic incidents and 108 patients were treated with trauma symptoms.

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance attended 96 sporting or leisure incidents with 47 percent being of an equestrian nature. The outstanding number of mission's flown were hospital transfers totalling six.

Chief Executive Bill Sivewright said: “Every one of the missions we fly is the result of somebody suffering a potentially life-threatening injury or accident.

“We have helped to save countless lives over the years because we can reach any part of the two counties in 19 minutes and we know that patients who receive treatment within the first hour - the 'Golden Hour' as it's known - have a much better chance of survival.

It costs £4,000 a day to keep their helicopter flying and Mr Sivewright said without the support of individuals, businesses and organisations throughout Dorset and Somerset, they simply could not keep going.

The charity is always looking for people to come forward and tell them experiences when they have been helped. Contact Tracey Bartram on 07817-536440 if you would like to.