A grandfather from Polperro, Cornwall, being rushed to hospital with a devastating blood clot that nearly cost him his leg was left stunned when his ambulance pulled over to pick up two hitchhikers. Glenn Buscombe, 60, was writhing in pain in the back of the emergency vehicle when it stopped abruptly on the side of a dual carriageway in the early hours of the morning. To his amazement the door slid open and a woman in a skimpy skirt climbed inside while her boyfriend hopped onto the front seat.
The driver then gave the pair a lift to the next town before dropping them off and taking Glenn to A&E in Plymouth, Devon.
He was told by doctors at the city's Derriford Hospital he might have to have his right leg amputated because of a deep vain thrombosis.
But after being transferred to another specialist hospital unit medics restored his blood flow with a series of injections.
Glenn, who has three grown up sons with his wife Sandra, said: "I was in terrible pain. The leg was swollen and my toes were starting to go black.
We were going at quite a speed when the ambulance came to an abrupt stop. It was not quite an emergency stop but enough to make my seatbelt lock.
"All of a sudden the door slid open and there was a girl standing there in the roadside.
She looked a bit worse for wear and bedraggled. She was just wearing a skirt and a blouse despite the fact it was foggy and raining on and off.
Then a man got in the front seat. He only had on a t-shirt. They looked like they'd had a few beers and missed their lift back home.
The woman started asking me all sorts of questions - who I was, what was wrong with me. I said 'how the hell do I know, I haven't been to hospital yet'.
I couldn't believe what was going on. The paramedic in the back with me looked as confused as I was."
Glenn says the ambulance carried on driving before it reached Saltash on the Devon-Cornwall border and pulled over again, where the two hitchhikers jumped out at a garage.
When it finally reached Derriford Glenn was checked over and put into the back of another ambulance, which took him to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro to see specialists.
To his relief, doctors there said his leg could be treated with injections rather than having to be amputated.
Glenn is now recovering at home from an operation to repair his blocked artery.
He has complained to the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust who have launched an urgent investigation into the incident.
An ambulance service spokesman said the crew "thought they had a duty of care to the couple because the road is pretty dangerous".