A professional triathlete involved in a horrific bus crash pays tribute to those who saved his life.

Alistair Robinson is lucky to be alive after fracturing his skull, spine and neck when he collided with a bus on the A66 near Threlkeld.

The 30 year old has competed in triathlons all over the world, and his career may have been saved by the fast response time of the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS).

Alistair said: "I remember waking up to the sound of the air ambulance rotors.

“I believe the time scale from having the accident to being at hospital was only an hour, which is amazing.

“Of the nine vertebrae I broke, several were unstable and so I had to have these fused.

“I was fitted with a halo brace which is fixed to my skull with four screws and support around my body with a brace - this effectively stops my neck from moving and allows the fractures to heal.

“I am now on what is likely to be a long road to recovery but hopefully a full one.

“It makes you realise how many people are indebted to the air ambulance and the brilliant service they provide.

“I’d also like to thank everyone on Ward 16 Neurology at the Newcastle RVI who looked after me - the staff there are amazing.”

“I’d encourage anyone who was at the scene of the accident to get in touch so I can give them a special thank you.”

To track Alistair's progress or to get in touch, visit his website at www.alirobinsonracing.com or follow him on Twitter @alitriathlon.