The burnt car on its side where it landed after rolling down the railway track bank that runs along Chapple St, Gympie.
The burnt car on its side where it landed after rolling down the railway track bank that runs along Chapple St, Gympie. Frances Klein

Man pulled through windscreen as car engulfed in flames

BEING dragged through the jagged glass of a smashed windscreen was the only way two police officers and a helper could save a man from a car that had burst into flames in Gympie this morning.

The driver, a 73- year-old Maryborough man on his way to volunteer at the Mary Valley Rattler, had inexplicably veered off the road at the Chapple St and Tucker St intersection before 7.30am.

The car mounted the steep bank, narrowly missing a power pole and careening alongside the Mary Valley Rattler track before rolling 5m back onto the road.

Landing on its side, the impact trapped the driver.

The situation got worse as the bonnet caught fire: which was the scene police officers Jeremy Gardiol and Sonny Mayo were met with when they arrived at the emergency.

Frantic actions followed to get the man out, who was groggy with shock.

Bashing the skyward-facing passenger window in was the only way they could communicate with him to cover himself as they began to bash through the windscreen with a police baton.

"I must have hit it 30 times to get a hole in the windscreen," Cnst Mayo said, who also tried to kick the glass in as the flames were rising.

Beside him, a passer by, ripped at the glass with his bare hands to clear the way as the officers dragged the driver through the windscreen.

"By the time we dragged him four metres, the flames were (as high as) a third of the way up the power pole," Cnst Mayo said.

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He admitted the situation had scared everyone.

"It could have gone bang at any moment," he said.

"It was definitely a heart-starter this time of morning," he said.

 

Gympie police officer Jeremy Gardiol was one of the first people on scene who pulled the 76-year-old man through the windscreen to save him from the burning car.
Gympie police officer Jeremy Gardiol was one of the first people on scene who pulled the 76-year-old man through the windscreen to save him from the burning car. Frances Klein

Emergency fire and rescue officers put out the fire on arrival and the driver was taken to Gympie Hospital with minor injuries.

Cnst Mayo praised the work of the good Samaritan, who had worked courageously beside them to free the man, and was taken to hospital with cut hands.

"That was such a big effort - he deserves a pat on his back," he said.

Serious track marks and pieces of the car's under carriage showed the path where the car left the road.

Energex assessed damage to the nearby power pole, which was still warm but had not caught fire.

Track marks showing where the car ran up the 5m high bank before rolling down and bursting into flames.
Track marks showing where the car ran up the 5m high bank before rolling down and bursting into flames. Frances Klein
Gympie Times


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