OH SO LUCKY
Young couple ‘relieved to be alive’ after horrifying ordeal
A YOUNG Wangaratta couple have told of their horrifying experience after the car they were driving veered off a Mt Buffalo roadside last Saturday.
Coby Saunders and Nick Bell’s camping plans in Abbeyard came to an abrupt and terrifying end when their car lost traction around a corner and dove off the mountainside.
Mr Bell, who was driving the car at the time, said he was “coming round the right hand corner, keeping out wide in case of any oncoming traffic, when the two passenger side wheels slid off the side of the road”.
“The car was half on, half off the road, but as soon as it stopped, the weight of it caused the car to roll,” he told the Wangaratta Chronicle.
“The window smashed on the first roll, which is why we’ve got all the glass cuts.”
Ms Saunders said she was flung out of the passenger side window after the car first rolled, however, Nick was trapped behind the driving wheel and he didn’t escape until he was thrown out further down the mountain.
“Nick ended up a few hundred metres down,” she said.
“I stood up, wiped my swollen face and I was just screaming out to him, waiting for him to reply.
“All our stuff was scattered everywhere - the car ended up around 400 metres down the mountain.”
Enduring serious pain, the pair forced themselves to climb up the steep mountainside on their bloodied hands and knees.
Scaling up to the road they waved down a ute carrying three people who helped them.
“We were bleeding pretty heavily but we were both in shock so we just got to the top as quick as we could,” Mr Bell said.
Ms Saunders said a rush of adrenalin was the only way she completed her climb to the top.
“Fortunately, Nick’s parents were coming camping with us but they were too far behind us to see the accident so they kept driving past the spot where we veered off the road,” she explained.
She and Mr Bell found Mr Bell’s parents and a group of hound hunters, who used a SAT phone to call Triple Zero.
Mr Bell was taken to a Wangaratta hospital with a broken nose and bloody cuts and bruises, but Ms Saunders was not so lucky.
“I’ve got a cracked vertebrate in the top of my neck, three cracked vertebrates in my lower back, two fractured ribs, a punctured lung and bruises and scratches,” she said.
“I was flown by helicopter to the Royal Melbourne Hospital, where I stayed until Monday before returning to Wangaratta.”
Reflecting on their near-death experience, the couple said they considered themselves “very lucky” to have survived the incident.
“It was horrible, but we were both happy to be alive, looking over the edge at what had happened,” Mr Bell said.
“We were both just relieved we were still alive, and we’re very grateful to the hound hunters who called Triple Zero.”
PAINFUL: Coby Saunders (pictured) suffered spinal injuries in the accident.
THANKFUL: Nick Bell (pictured) started his recovery at a Wangaratta hospital, where he was treated for his injuries.