IT'S not the sort of thing you expect to see coming out of a shopping centre - a car on its side - especially when it's leaning on your car.

But that's exactly the sight that confronted Battery Hill's Derek Abel after returning to his car at Caloundra's Stockland Shopping Centre on the Sunshine Coast yesterday.

"I came back and found my car in a mess,'' Derek told the Daily.

Police said the elderly driver of the other car was finishing parking, after his wife got out of the vehicle, when he apparently hit the accelerator instead of the brake, launching the car into a nearby yellow post.

His car flipped on to its side, leaving the man, believed to be in his 60s, trapped inside.

Caloundra firefighters were quickly on the scene, stabilising the car before trying to get the man out.

Caloundra station officer Bevan McPherson said the man had only tried to move the car a bit more forward to put it correctly into the space when the drama unfolded.

"Something has happened and he has accelerated with speed and come up against this yellow post here behind me.

"It has tipped him up on his side and rested on another car beside him."

"He then slid down into the passenger side of the car and stayed there until we were able to stabilise the vehicle and retrieve him,'' Mr McPherson said.

Witnesses and police estimated the man was trapped in the car for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Emergency services said the incident could have been worse, given the number of holidaymakers, other vehicles and children around.

"He was very lucky he pulled into the car park where he did,'' Mr McPherson said, referring to the post which stopped him.

"For a busy car park and school holidays, it could have been a lot worse."

The man appeared to have suffered only minor injuries, though he and his wife were in shock.

"He was able to assist us to get him out so it was a very good outcome all round."

Snr Constable Penny McKerchar said the man sustained a couple of cuts to the head.

"It was very lucky to have that yellow pole there. If it was not for that it would have been more serious than it was."


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