A CARP angler helped save the lives of two friends following a snow blizzard off roading accident using the fleece duvets from his Nash bedchair and sleep system.

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Craig Taylor a site manager from Birmingham endured a seven-hour ordeal (pictured above) in the Brecon Beacons insulating two friends against snow and sub-zero temperatures after their Land Rover rolled, landing 200 feet down a sheer drop.

‘If it happened another ten times, they would probably all be dead on every occasion, it was a miracle they survived,’ said Craig. ‘Their Land Rover had a full roll cage which took the brunt of it, but it still just disintegrated as it rolled and threw them out.’

After taking a wrong turning in blizzard conditions two Land Rovers ended up climbing a narrow cliff face edge and couldn’t go any further before tragedy struck and the second vehicle rolled through picket fencing down the sheer drop.

Like a James Bond film

‘I really thought all of them were dead, you can’t fall that far and survive, it was like something you see in a James Bond film,’ he said. ‘I got my fishing clothes on put my woolly hat and head torch on and grabbed the duvet layers and started climbing down after them.’

With the weather worsening and friends off to try and raise help trained first aider Craig unzipped the twin layer Sleep System duvets and slid two of the casualties close to each other, wrapping them in the thermal layers to try and preserve their body temperatures.

‘One who was severe was only in shorts. It makes it sound that we weren’t prepared but in the vehicle we had ski suits and all sorts of cold weather gear we just weren’t expecting to need it in an instant because of an accident,’ Craig explained.

The men were travelling in Land Rovers like this.

The men were travelling in Land Rovers like this.

Hypothermia risk

‘Hypothermia was the danger so I wrapped the peachskin layers all around their legs and lay on top of both of them to try and keep them warm. I was speaking to the emergency services and requesting an air ambulance – we weren’t going to get out any other way, not up or down.’

On the phone for almost three hours Craig began to doubt they would be rescued: ‘At one point I broke down, all we knew was help was on its way but I couldn’t feel my legs, we were in snow and we only had our body heat and I kept being told not to let the casualties drift in and out of sleep. Keeping them awake and conscious was the big thing.’

The efforts of a 50 man rescue team were complicated by both the extreme conditions preventing helicopters taking off and also the fact that the vehicle had rolled onto a privately owned weaponry range.

Three-hour ordeal

Mark Jones, deputy team leader Brecon Mountain Rescue emphasised the danger of the conditions to the casualties: ‘Despite the potential for trauma the real risk to life was from cold. We assumed at least two casualties had spinal injuries but the risk was still the cold. They had been there around three hours before we got to the scene, it was sub-zero and we had the first snow of the winter,’ he explained.

‘Craig had made his way down into a difficult area following the route the vehicle had taken, and did what we would wholeheartedly recommend, left the casualties where they were and insulated them from the cold using the blankets he had to protect their lives.

‘They didn’t have much going for them they were cold, wet and had little clothing. We have dealt with people who can become medically severely hypothermic in an hour, and people can be dead within two hours, even experienced climbers who have suffered an injury and laid down and not been able to insulate themselves,’ said Mark, 46, who has 30 years experience with Brecon Mountain Rescue.

‘We are used to working with people who are very cold and severely injured and distressed in places that on a lovely day are beautiful but on a not so lovely day can take your life,’ he added.

The Sleep Skin system that carp angler Craig had with him played a key part in his rescue efforts.

The Sleep Skin system that carp angler Craig had with him played a key part in his rescue efforts.

‘Brave and commendable’ says Kevin Nash

Nash Tackle replaced the duvet layers that could not easily or safely be retrieved from the crash site. Company boss Kevin Nash described Craig’s efforts to save his friends as ‘brave and commendable’.

‘It’s a testimony to the efforts we go to making the highest quality products, the result being that lives were saved,’ Kevin added. ‘We’ve had Titans documented as saving lives, now our Sleep System duvets have the same accolade.’

Nash Tackle have also made a donation to Brecon Mountain Rescue, who operate entirely on funding from charitable donations from the public and require £40,000 per year to cover operational costs.

‘Last year I took a normal sleeping bag and froze my cobs off,’ said Craig. ‘This time I took my roof tent and Sleep System layers and those duvets kept my friends alive until we received help,’ he emphasised. ‘Without them they would have suffered more severe hypothermia.

‘A lot of people got out of bed to save us that night and we will always be grateful for their rescue efforts.’