6:40am Saturday 26th April 2014
By Ashley Barnard
AN injured motorcyclist pulled clear from his burning machine minutes before it exploded hopes to meet the paratrooper to thank him for helping save his life.
Martin Hunter had been riding with friends in the Yorkshire Dales - as he had done countless times before - when he was involved in a collision with a Peugeot car at Whipperdale Bank between Richmond and Leyburn.
The 51-year-old was left lying close to his stricken Moto Guzzi and motorists who stopped and called 999 were advised not to move him until the ambulance arrived in case his injuries were more serious than appeared.
But soldiers involved in an exercise on a nearby firing range spotted the danger Mr Hunter was in - and he was pulled to safety before his bike exploded.
Lieutenant John Bryning said it was Corporal Tony Fitzpatrick from PARA Company, the 2nd Infantry Training Battalion at Catterick Garrison, who took charge of moving Mr Hunter following the incident at about 11am on Tuesday, April 15.
Although Cpl Fitzpatrick is currently away, his details have now been passed to Mr Hunter, of Acklam, Middlesbrough, so he can thank him.
Lt Bryning said: “I got to the scene about five minutes after Mr Hunter had been moved but I heard a loud bang when the motorbike exploded.
“Corp Fitzpatrick told me he was aware the man had come off his bike and his priority was to make him safe.”
Mr Hunter said: “I am badly bruised, especially on my shoulder and leg, but nothing is broken and I am slowly healing.
“It would have been a completely different story if the solders had not moved me.
“I am so pleased I can call Corp Fitzpatrick and hopefully arrange to thank him in person and tell him how grateful I am.”
He was taken to Darlington Memorial Hospital where scans revealed he was fortunate to have escaped without any broken bones.
Mr Hunter, who said he could remember little of the incident, said he also wanted to thank a woman who supported his head before the ambulance arrived and the emergency service crews that came to his aid.
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