Driver in deadly cafe fire wakens
BRIAN Scutt has no idea why he is lying in a hospital bed.
The 60- year- old has woken from an induced coma for the first time since the deadly Ravenshoe cafe blast killed two people and injured 17 others three weeks ago.
“He’s got no idea what happened,’’ son James Scutt said yesterday. “We’ve got no plans to break it to him just yet.’’
For 20 days, the Ravenshoe local and stockman has been on life support in intensive care at Cairns Hospital.
He is listed in a serious condition with a broken spine, internal injuries and more than 30 per cent burns to his body.
“Dad’s awake but he’s not all there,” Mr Scutt Jr said.
“He’s still coming out of his sedation.
“He’s been asking, ‘ Why am I here?’ and ‘ Where’s my car?’
“He keeps telling me to go and get stuff out of his ute. He’s in the dark.’’
In the state’s biggest mass burns disaster, Mr Scutt ( pictured) was at the wheel of his 4WD utility when it crashed into a gas tank and detonated an explosion at the Serves You Right Cafe on June 9.
Mum- of- two Nicole Nyholt, 37, who was minding the cafe for her parents, and volunteer Margaret Clark, 82, died from horrific burns suffered in the lethal fireball.
Eleven more victims are still hospitalised – with one 51year- old woman in a critical condition – at specialty burns units in Cairns and Brisbane.
Family will meet today with psychologists and social workers on how best to break the gravity of the tragedy to the “caring, kind- hearted old bushie”.
“When we all think it is a suitable time, we’ll tell him,” Mr Scutt Jr said.
“We don’t know how he’ll cope with the news. He’ll take it hard, it’ll devastate him, it’ll destroy him, he loved everyone in that town.’’
It is still unclear if Mr Scutt had a medical issue such as a heart attack or stroke in the moments before the crash.
“He’s got his burns to deal with,’’ his son said. “If he’ll ever walk again is another thing.’’
Mrs Nyholt’s mum Vicki has sent the driver “love and strength” in his battle for life.
“This was a freak accident and there is no room for blame,’’ she said.
Police are still appealing for witnesses to the accident to come forward.
QUICK THINKING: Ian Geoghegan’s bravery during the Ravenshoe blast has been recognised with a nomination for a Pride of Australia medal.