BBC Helicopter Heroes: PC feared she was paralysed after falling from horse

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A police officer who was thrown from her horse and feared she was a paralysed will appear on a BBC TV show that follows the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Sarah Costello, of West Yorkshire Police’s mounted section, was undergoing training to provide support for the February Tyne-Wear Premier League football derby, when her horse became startled and threw her off.

Unable to feel anything below her neck, the 26-year-old from West Bretton feared she had severely damaged her spine and Yorkshire Air Ambulance was dispatched to fly her to Leeds General Infirmary for specialist scans and treatment.

After eight hours she began to get some feeling back in her limbs but the mother-of-one has been left with limited use of her left hand, poor feeling in her lower right leg and is still receiving physiotherapy for soft tissue damage to her neck and lower back.

Mrs Costello said: “The horse is quite a difficult, high-spirited horse. He spooked at something and suddenly went left and I flew off on the right and smacked into the arena fence.

“It was very frightening because I could not feel anything below my neck, and could not move my hands. I had gone into spinal shock and so everything had shut down to preserve the spinal cord.

“They are hoping that everything will eventually heal but I may never be back to 100 per cent.

“I am just lucky it was not far worse and the support I have had from everyone has been really heart warming.

“Working in the police force, you obviously see the air ambulance a lot but you never in a million years think that it will be landing to help you. They were amazing and it’s such a valuable service.”

Her ordeal will feature in the new series of BBC1’s reality show ‘Helicopter Heroes’ which follows the work of the two Yorkshire Ambulances, which fly from the Nostell Estate .

The ambulances have carried more than 5,400 people in the charity’s 13 year history and cost £9,900 each day to run. Her rescue will be aired on Easter Monday at 9.15am on BBC 1 .