What3words app rescues Leeds grandfather left in a blind spot from incoming traffic after terrifying cycling accident

A 70-year-old man who skidded at speeds of 30mph on an oil slick which left him in a blind spot from incoming traffic was rescued by helicopter - thanks to an emergency app.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 8:01 am
Algy Kazlauciunas was cycling in the Nidderdale beauty spot in the Yorkshire Dales on September 20 last year when he suddenly slipped and crashed into the side of a remote road (photo: SWNS)

Algy Kazlauciunas, from Leeds, was left stranded on the side of a remote road but was able to be rescued in just ten minutes after two other cyclists used the what3words app.

Algy was cycling in the Nidderdale beauty spot in the Yorkshire Dales on September 20 last year when he suddenly slipped and crashed into the side of a remote road.

He had been speeding downhill when he hit a patch of road which was covered in oil and flew off his bike.

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The what3words geolocation app divides the whole world into 57 trillion 10ft by 10ft squares which are represented by three specific words. It allows emergency services to pinpoint your location rapidly and arrive within minutes. (photo: SWNS)

It left the experienced rider in a blind spot from incoming traffic as he was behind a bend, and he was unable to move due to his gashed leg.

A few minutes later two cyclists happened to speed round the bend which caused one of the riders to slip as well.

The pair, who were taking scenic roads on a coast-to-coast ride, had the what3words app and managed to get a helicopter to the scene within ten minutes.

The geolocation app divides the whole world into 57 trillion 10ft by 10ft squares which are represented by three specific words.

It allows emergency services to pinpoint your location rapidly and arrive within minutes.

Algy says the incident was both a case of being ‘extremely lucky’ and ‘extremely unlucky’.

He knew he had broken his femur as soon as he came crashing down and was concerned a car could crash into him as he was behind a bend.

Algy, from Leeds, West Yorks., said: “I hit an oil slick at about 30mph, and there were no cars except for a lorry.

“You’ve got no chance, I was straight off. I flew quite a distance, it seemed like I had scooped into the air.

“I didn’t seem to panic, which is bizarre. I just found myself lying in an oil slick, covered in oil, and you suddenly realise what the hell is going on.

“I had to drag myself, I knew I broke my femur, I knew straight away, but I dragged the leg and pulled myself to the side.”

Once the helicopter arrived at the scene, he was rushed to Harrogate hospital where a metal rod was inserted in his knee.

Algy, who is a lecturer at Leeds University, said he was awake during the two hour procedure and could hear the surgeons hammering and drilling away.

The grandfather-of-one said: “It’s been very difficult trying to get strength back into the muscles. I’m getting better, but it’s a slow process.”

Algy has been cycling for nearly 60 years, and cycled around 100 miles a week leading up to the accident, and is hoping to get back on the roads where he feels at home.

While he realises how unfortunate the accident was, he says he’s more of a ‘glass half full type’ and acknowledged it could have been a lot worse if the two riders hadn’t been on that route.

He said: “I feel grateful. I was incredibly unlucky but the immediate events after I fell were so fortunate. It could have been so much worse.

“I was so lucky they were doing this coast to coast. They were doing it on minor roads, as it was such an empty road.”

He said he has now downloaded the what3words app, as he believes he wouldn’t have been airlifted as quickly otherwise.

He added: “I have downloaded the app now. For anybody who is a keen hiker or cyclist, if you’re getting out to remote areas, everybody should download this app.

“If something happens to you it means they can get to you so much more quickly. I have to say all credit to all the people who made the app.”

Clinical Operations Manager for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance says the what3words app is “invaluable to saving lives, especially in remote areas of Yorkshire.”

Algy’s incredible rescue story will also feature on the television series Helicopter ER, which airs on Freeview channel Really on Tuesday, March 23 at 10pm.