Gas blast in­jures two at fam­ily bar­be­cue

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

MOSS­MAN fire­man An­drew Pe­track has spo­ken out about the “hor­rific” gas bot­tle ex­plo­sion that left his wife and daugh­ter with se­vere burns.

Mr Pe­track was at the Rocky Point Es­planade, 30km north of Port Dou­glas, with his wife Julie O’Gor­man and their two chil­dren Sophie, 16, and Harri, 12, on Mon­day evening.

The fam­ily was cook­ing din­ner on a por­ta­ble bar­be­cue when the gas bot­tle ex­ploded.

“I re­mem­ber vividly that once we fin­ished I turned off the bar­bie, took the steak off and sat down,” said Mr Pe­track. “All I can re­mem­ber was I was about to say ‘how good is this?’ and we were blown off our chairs. There was a mas­sive flash and a bang.

“All I re­mem­ber is be­ing on the ground, look­ing up and hear­ing my daugh­ter scream­ing and yelling as she ran down to the wa­ter. I looked at Julie and she was on her knees with skin fall­ing off her arms.”

De­spite burns to his right arm and side, Mr Pe­track still man­aged to draw from his ex­ten­sive emer­gency skills to sup­port his in­jured fam­ily.

“I took Julie down to the wa­ter and called out to the only other guy on the beach to call the am­bu­lance,” he said.

“It was sur­real be­ing on the other side of it. I deal with emer­gen­cies ev­ery day but I was hav­ing to do it for my fam­ily. I was look­ing af­ter them in an emer­gency.”

His wife and daugh­ter both re­ceived burns to their an­kles, legs, hands, chest and face. They were taken to Moss­man Hos­pi­tal where the res­cue he­li­copter was wait­ing to air­lift Mrs O’Gor­man to Cairns Hos­pi­tal. Sophie was taken to hos­pi­tal later that evening.

The two women have since been flown to Bris­bane, with Mrs O’Gor­man po­ten­tially suf­fer­ing third de­gree burns. Mr Pe­track, 51, and his son, who es­caped in­jury, are in Bris­bane com­fort­ing them.

He said the fam­ily’s road to re­cov­ery would take some time while the men­tal and phys­i­cal scars healed. He praised the ef­forts of the health and emer­gency crews.

Harri and Sophie with par­ents Julie and An­drew in hap­pier times.

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