Driver in deadly cafe fire wak­ens

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - PETER MICHAEL

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.

Main Pic­ture: BRIAN CASSEY

QUICK THINK­ING: Ian Geoghe­gan’s brav­ery dur­ing the Raven­shoe blast has been recog­nised with a nom­i­na­tion for a Pride of Aus­tralia medal.

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