Truckie pulls driver from fire
“IT LIT up like daylight,” said one of two heroes of a spectacular truck jackknife and the rescue of a 38-year-old driver yesterday.
Sunshine Coast truckies Rob Skewes and Dave Holmes were strangers sharing a southbound stretch of the Bruce Highway at Sippy Downs about 5.20am.
In a split second a southbound prime mover with two tanks about 500 metres ahead of them hit the culvert on the left-hand side of the road.
The heavily loaded truck split in three. The first tank flew over the top of the cabin and landed 50 metres away.
A stunned Mr Skewes and Mr Holmes watched in horror as fire engulfed the badly damaged truck cabin.
“I looked up to see this trailer rolling and a blast of flames – it lit up the sky like daylight,” Mr Holmes said
“We could hear him screaming for help and Rob just ran in there and pulled him out.”
Mr Skewes was undeterred by flames as he pulled Brisbane husband and father Jason Bowditch out of the path of tragedy.
“The flames probably reached about three to four metres high,” he said.
Moments later fire incinerated the seat where Mr Bowditch had been.
The two heroes were desperate to keep Mr Bowditch awake.
“We just kept telling him ‘stay with us mate, keep with us’,” Mr Holmes said.
Police and firefighters praised the truckies for their efforts.
Mr Bowditch suffered three fractured vertebrae and numerous cuts and bruises, according to his boss, Bill Hughes, from Hillcote Bulk Haulage.
“I spoke to him about midday and told him not to bother buying a lottery ticket because he’s probably used up all his luck,” he said.
Mr Hughes, Hillcote’s operation manager, said his injured driver had been with the company for three years and was a “real character” who was well liked.
“I just want to thank those guys who pulled him out,” Mr Hughes said. “They are real true blue heroes.”
The crash caused traffic chaos on the southbound lanes of the Bruce Highway until about 2pm.
“You watch things like this on the television and you don’t think you could ever do it, but instincts just take over,” Mr Holmes said.