Prince William reveals the darker moments of being an air ambulance pilot


The Duke of Cambridge has talked about the "sad, dark moments" of his job as an air ambulance pilot - while a colleague joked he was a source of "good tips" on parenting.

William also revealed he enjoys working as part of the four-strong helicopter crew, in contrast to his sometimes solo role as a member of the Royal Family.

(Stefan Rousseau/PA)
The Prince has worked for the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) service since July 2015 (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The future king made the comments during an online BBC documentary posted today chronicling his work as a pilot with East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) and the service the charity provides.

Sitting in the open side door of an air ambulance with captain James Pusey, the Duke described the most difficult emergency he has attended since he began the job last summer.

He said: "I think my most challenging one was to do with burns. There's one job in particular that was really quite nasty and I don't know how the medical crew dealt with it either because they came to the rescue and did everything they (could) and sadly the casualty was beyond help.

(John Stillwell/PA)
The Duke balances his role as an air ambulance pilot alongside his royal duties (John Stillwell/PA)

"Yeah, there are some very sad, dark moments and you know we talk about it a lot. That's the best way of dealing with some of the situations is you talk."

William juggles his role as a pilot with his royal duties and on Saturday will travel to Canada with wife Kate and their children, Prince George, aged three, and 16-month-old Princess Charlotte, for an official eight-day trip.

The Duke and the captain shared a joke, with Mr Pusey saying about his colleague: "He's very good with advice and parenthood - in terms of good tips", and William laughed and replied: "Dishing out parent advice."

(John Stillwell/PA)
William (right) with brother Harry and his father, the Prince of Wales, before the age of work in 1997 (John Stillwell/PA)

The documentary has been released during National Air Ambulance Week and is described as a multi-media portrait of the EAAA and its staff. It has been produced by BBC Future which provides in-depth coverage of science, health and technology stories.

The Duke and Mr Pusey also talked about the importance of "banter" during the working day. William said: "It helps de-stress and it also brings us together.

"Because if you share the same, in some cases, sad incidents then, if you can get over it together, by being able to talk about it in the future, being a close team you come away with a collective way of dealing with it together and (it) helps you move on to whatever you've got to do next."

(Dave Thompson/PA)
William and Harry at their military training base at RAF Shrewsbury in 2009 (Dave Thompson/PA)

William added that when he first began the job he was worried how people at an emergency would react to him.

He said: "Fortunately they don't really care who turns up as long as they're getting the care and the help that they need.

"I have to say I was a little bit anxious of some of that when I first started, because I didn't want to bring any chaos or any sort of unhelpfulness to the scene. And, actually, it's worked out better than I could possibly have thought."