‘I’M STILL ALIVE’
Crash survivor tells of escaping 4WD rollover
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.”