Taxi driver’s fiery es­cape

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Jessie Tol­son

A feral boar run­ning on to the road caused a spec­tac­u­lar ac­ci­dent on the Capt Cook High­way at the Mt Mol­loy turnoff on Satur­day night, as Moss­man Taxi owner/driver Char­lie Brischetto swerved to avoid the an­i­mal.

Mr Brischetto, the sole oc­cu­pant at about 8.35 pm, sud­denly found him­self in a sit­u­a­tion out of con­trol.

‘‘I was just driv­ing back to Moss­man from Port Dou­glas, lis­ten­ing to the ra­dio when out of the cor­ner of my eye I saw a wild boar run onto the road,’’ he said.

‘‘I swerved to avoid hit­ting it and clipped the traf­fic is­land, the taxi got air­borne and did a 360 be­fore the car came to a stop.

‘‘It felt like it took a long time, but it prob­a­bly wasn’t.

‘‘The engine was scream­ing so I switched it off but some­thing must have sparked.

‘‘Peo­ple started scream­ing for me to get out of the van. The front was on fire.

‘‘The van has an au­to­matic lock­ing mech­a­nism, while driv­ing - when you hit 40km per hour it will au­to­mat­i­cally lock.

‘‘It ap­pears the im­pact seized the mech­a­nism and my door wouldn’t un­lock or open.

‘‘I didn’t panic but there was the ur­gency to get out quickly, so I crawled over to the pas­sen­ger side and went through the win­dow. I man­aged to get away from the car be­fore the first ex­plo­sion; there were three ex­plo­sions all up.

‘‘I feel lucky that I got out in time, it didn’t take long for the cab to be to­tally en­gulfed in flames.

‘‘I am just so glad there were no pas­sen­gers in the van. If all the doors were locked there would have been no way for them to get out.’’

Char­lie and his wife Colleen have owned the Moss­man Taxi ser­vice for 22 years.

Mr Brischetto was driv­ing a Hyundai Imax at the time of the ac­ci­dent that was com­plet­ley burnout.

Mrs Brischetto said peo­ple should be cau­tious about the au­to­matic lock­ing sys­tems in some cars.

‘‘They re­ally are use­less and danger­ous, why have it in the first place?’’ she said.

‘‘Peo­ple should maybe think about hav­ing them dis­con­nected through their car deal­er­ships. ‘‘I hate to think what could have hap­pened.’’ Moss­man Fire and Res­cue lieu­tenant An­drew Pe­track saw the fire put out.

‘‘I was the of­fi­cer in charge and want to praise my crew for their rapid and dili­gent re­sponse in con­tain­ing the fire­ball and clear­ing up the road, which was re-opened an hour and a half af­ter it was cleaned up.

‘‘When we got there, there were a cou­ple of ex­plo­sions, the tyres blew.

‘‘The guys put out the fire quickly and did a fan­tas­tic job.’’

BURNT OUT: Taxi com­pletely gut­ted af­ter run-in with wild pig

BURN­ING:

the blaze on the high­way

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