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Bystanders save lives

First on the scene: Jim Morris was changing his tyre on the side of the road when he saw the car spin out of control and narrowly miss his wife before landing in the culvert; he and his wife quickly rushed to the aid of the driver and passenger. Photo courtesy: Chris Scott, Herald Sun.

THE quick thinking actions of bystanders and road workers saved the lives of an elderly couple in Bass last Thursday.
An 82-year-old man was driving with his wife northwest along the Bass Highway when he lost control whilst negotiating a left bend.
Police reported the car crossed back and forth across the roadway out of control, before the vehicle overturned and landed on its roof in a deep drain, trapping both occupants.
Cowes residents Roger and Faye Morris were changing a car tyre on the side of the road when they saw the incident happen, with the out of control car narrowly missing Mrs Morris.
“It missed my wife and the car by four or five inches; it was really close, scary close,” Mr Morris said.
“A fellow following in a truck saw my wife standing there and started madly tooting his horn, but she didn’t have time to move anyway.”
Mr Morris quickly ran down to the overturned car and sent his wife to notify some nearby road workers with an excavator.
He made sure the female passenger was okay before going to the aid of the driver, whose head was under water.
“He was unconscious or blacked out and wasn’t breathing; I got his head up for a little bit, but water was still seeping into the car,” he said.
“I knew we’d have to get the car turned off its roof and upright. I think by the time the excavator arrived, I just decided it was more important to get his whole body up and out of the water because I couldn’t do anything for him the way it was.”
Cut and Fill leading hand Chris Mundy was working at the nearby road works when Mrs Morris ran over for assistance.
Mr Mundy said while they had heard the accident and had a look around, they couldn’t see the car in the drain and assumed everything was fine.
“We went over and quickly decided we needed to turn the car up, so I called over the UHF for some help; we needed some chains and our first aiders, and anyone who could lend some assistance,” he said.
“We realised at this stage that if anything was going to go wrong it was me who was going to wear it, but we had to do something.”
It was briefly discussed whether they should wait for an ambulance to arrive, but Mr Mundy said they realised they had to act quickly.
“We couldn’t stand and watch,” he said.
“We connected a chain from the excavator to the undercarriage of the vehicle and very gently turned it up. I was directing the excavator and had a couple of blokes watching the passengers in the vehicle to make sure they were okay as well.”
Mr Morris said the car would have been under water for no more than five minutes, and by the time the ambulance arrived the driver was semi-conscious.
“He looked pretty good considering,” he said.
“It was just fortunate someone was close by.”
Intensive care flight paramedic Shaun Whitmore said the man had breathed in water while trapped upside down in the car.
“The man was immersed in the water for some time and has probably inhaled muddy water into his lungs and that was our main concern,” he said.
“The bystander did a fantastic job to right the vehicle because the man was in substantial danger and at risk of drowning while trapped in the car.”
Both the driver and his wife remain in the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, with their conditions
improving.
Despite police reporting the driver would have most definitely died if it weren’t for their actions, both Mr Morris and Mr Mundy deny their rescue efforts were heroic.
Mr Morris said they just “happened to be the first there and anyone else would have done the same”.
“It wasn’t a dangerous situation for us; we weren’t running into flames,” he said.
“We’re not heroes, it was just a matter of helping him, and we had everything we needed to be able to turn the car over.”
Mr Mundy said it was a fortunate series of events that saved the life of the man, who had “a number of things working in his favour”.
“If the Morrises hadn’t have been there changing their tyre, it could have been quite some time before we realised,” he said.
“He was also lucky there was no oncoming traffic as well, because he crossed the highway before he crashed.”
Mr Mundy paid credit to Cut and Fill’s safety system and the fact they are all up-to-date with their first aid courses.
“I’d like to thank our guys that helped out, especially Darryl, Murray, Ben, Jim and Geoff,” he said.

Quick to respond: Jim Wilson, Chris Mundy, Murray Logan, Ben Vanvelzen and Geoff Norris helped save the lives of an elderly man and his wife after their car crashed into a culvert and filled with water last Thursday.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=3157

Posted by on Mar 21 2012. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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