A POLICE officer whose prompt action saved the life of a cyclist trapped under the wheels of a double-decker bus has spoken of his humility at being selected for a national honour.

Acting Inspector Dave Smith was on duty at the Lumiere light show, in Durham, when the man fell from his bicycle into the path of the bus at New Elvet, on November 14 last year.

The Northern Echo: AWARD: Acting Inspector Dave Smith is to receive a Royal Humane Society certificate of commendation. Picture: GAVIN ENGELBRECHT

AWARD: Acting Inspector Dave Smith is to receive a Royal Humane Society certificate of commendation. Picture: GAVIN ENGELBRECHT

The officer, who was yards away when the accident happened, saw the man’s only chance of survival was if the bus was lifted off him and he called for immediate help from the fire brigade.

Using heavy lifting gear firefighters managed to free the severely injured cyclist.

Doctors said had he been trapped just a few minutes longer he would almost certainly have died.

Act Insp Smith, who is to be given a Royal Humane Society certificate of commendation, said: “I feel humbled to get this award. I was just going my job, but it gives me great satisfaction to have been able to make a difference.”

The officer, who is based at the Cleveland and Durham Special Operations Unit, said the bus had stopped in heavy traffic to let a car turn in front of him when cyclist undertook it.

The cyclist – seeing the car at the last second – braked and fell into the road just as the bus moved away.

Act Insp Smith said: “The bus has literally rolled over him and folded up the bike at the same time.

“I happened to be 200 yards in front of the accident when I was alerted and was there within minutes.

“I got down on all fours and quickly saw he was trapped, severely injured and bleeding.

“The wheels of the bike and him were mangled into one. I requested the help of the fire brigade as a matter of urgency, because the bus needed lifting straightaway.

“He was fortunate because there was an appliance on standby at Lumiere and it was there within minutes.”

Paramedics stabilised the man, before he was taken to hospital with severe pelvic, chest and head injuries. He is making a recovery.

The injured man's younger sister was on the bus. She was comforted by Constable Jennifer Thatcher.

Insp Ed Turner, of Durham Police, said: “Dave Smith was the first member of the emergency services to arrive at the scene and in this case, time really did matter.

“His actions helped get the victim quickly to hospital where the trauma team were able to assess him.

“The feedback they provided indicated that if the cyclist had been trapped for just a few minutes longer, he would probably have been crushed to death.”