‘You never know when you might need it’: rider uses What3Words app to help driver in overturned lorry

  • An event horse owner who helped at the scene of an overturned lorry has praised the What3Words location app and urged riders to download it.

    Lexi Hambro of Hambro Sport Horses was travelling by car with her husband Jonathan to Aston Le Walls on Saturday (15 May), to watch their horse Billy Senora compete with Alicia Hawker, when they came across the lorry on an unnamed road.

    “We got about a mile and a half from Aston and I was in the passenger seat. I looked up and saw the lorry across the road on its side,” Lexi told H&H.

    “At first I thought ‘I hope there’s no horses in there’ as I couldn’t see if it was a horsebox or not because the wheels were facing us. I said to my husband ‘I’m going’.”

    Lexi ran over to the lorry, which was not a horsebox, and found a woman was on the phone to the emergency services.

    “I could hear her saying ‘We’re near Aston, near a bridge’ and the emergency services were going to be 40 minutes,” said Lexi.

    “I could see the driver was in a lot of difficulty inside the cab so I made the decision to try and get in the cab. He was strapped in but hanging down and I noticed lots of diesel everywhere so I took the keys out of the ignition and shouted for help.”

    Lexi and Jonathan, who are former military and aviation personnel with medical training, created a sling and used a tow rope to help support the driver, who was conscious and speaking, without moving him in case of spinal injuries.

    “An off-duty policeman appeared and I asked him to ring emergency services back and gave him my phone to give them our exact location using What3Words and they said ‘We know where you are’,” said Lexi.

    “We tried to keep the driver as comfortable as possible until the fire brigade arrived, and an ambulance took him to hospital”.

    Lexi said she “massively rates” the What3Words app. The app splits the world into a grid of 3m x 3m squares, each of which has a unique three-word address, enabling emergency services to pinpoint people in hard-to-reach areas.

    “When I heard the woman saying to the emergency services ‘it’s near this’ and ‘no, not there’ I realised I didn’t have a clue where we were as I had been on my iPad all the way. I wouldn’t have been able to tell emergency services our location,” she said.

    “The emergency services said it had saved so much time using the app. If it had been in the dark and this happened you wouldn’t even be able to say ‘I’m next to a farm or a bridge’.”

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    Lexi has urged riders to download the free app.

    “I think for riders it’s really brought home how we often go out riding in the middle of nowhere by ourselves and if you were to fall and bang your head you wouldn’t have a clue where you were. You can say ‘my nearest village is, take the bridleway, you’ll go through a gate’ but if you have an accident would you have the capability to do that? Especially if you’re injured or in shock,” she said.

    “We’ve contacted Whats3Words to ask for a meeting to find out how we can help get this out more to riders because it’s become so apparent that for the equestrian world this is something that needs to be used. You just never know when you might need it.”

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