‘I’M STILL ALIVE’

Crash sur­vivor tells of es­cap­ing 4WD rollover

Central and North Burnett Times - - FRONT PAGE - Emily Smith emily.smith@cnbtimes.com.au

PETER Wilson thought he was a goner. The Ban­croft farmer and school bus driver rolled his Landcruiser four times on Tues­day af­ter­noon, be­fore hik­ing nearly half a kilo­me­tre with a head in­jury for phone re­cep­tion to call for help.

But un­like his wrecked car, the 57-year-old es­caped with only a cut to the head and a sore shoul­der.

“My wife and fam­ily all flashed into my mind (dur­ing the crash),” Mr Wilson said.

“It prob­a­bly only took about ten seconds but I thought I was go­ing to die.

“But I guess the big guy up­stairs took a look and de­cided he didn’t want me.”

Mr Wilson was burn­ing on his re­mote prop­erty by the Kalpowar forestry when he ran into trou­ble.

“I was at the top end of a steep, grav­elly hill and was hav­ing a trac­tion prob­lem,” he said.

“Then I was slip­ping back­wards and couldn’t steer the back. Rather than go­ing down the hill at high speed I thought ‘I’ve got to get this on its side’.”

He then swung the Landcruiser into a bank, which suc­cess­fully rolled it side­ways.

“But I was hop­ing it would roll onto its side and then stop. The hill was just too steep,” Mr Wilson said.

And as he had been burn­ing at the time, he had a slip-on fire unit at the back of the ve­hi­cle.

“Each time I rolled, the mo­men­tum of the wa­ter (from the fire unit tank) would come up, and make us roll again.

“I couldn’t hold on with the brakes ei­ther and I knew what was be­low me (a gully).

“When I fin­ished rolling I just shook my head and thought ‘I’m still alive’.”

“Then I crawled out the driver win­dow, think­ing ‘gee, I hope this thing doesn’t catch fire’. It’s a petrol car and with the fire unit I had a fair amount of fuel on board.

“I’d burnt that coun­try ear­lier that day and there were still lots of hot em­bers around.”

The shaken land owner then had to hike about 400m back up the steep hill to get phone re­cep­tion to call the emer­gency ser­vices.

“I found my phone back up on the road where I’d started rolling,” he said.

“I was pretty scared I might pass out, so I gave them di­rec­tions of where to find me and sat un­der a tree. It took them less than an hour to get there.”

Monto Po­lice Sergeant Glen Fletcher was first on the scene, fol­lowed by am­bu­lance and fire crews.

“How he sur­vived it is a mir­a­cle,” Sgt Fletcher said.

Mr Wilson was re­cu­per­at­ing in Monto Hos­pi­tal Wed­nes­day morn­ing, but still man­aged to do his own foren­sics on the crash.

“I had a mishap ear­lier in the day, where I mounted a stump and lifted (the car off) with a trac­tor. That bent the tail shaft, which drives the back wheels,” he said.

“You can see in the photo (of the wreck­age) the tail shaft is com­pletely bent.

“That’s what hap­pened at the top of the hill, so with­out the back wheels, I had noth­ing.”

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