The Courier-Mail

TRAPPED IN FRIGHT PATH

- JAMES PHELPS

V8 SUPERCARS star James Courtney was rushed to hospital with serious chest injuries yesterday after a freak accident involving the downdraft of a low-flying Navy helicopter.

The 35-year-old Holden driver was floored by a flying piece of metal dislodged as the chopper flew over the pitlane at Eastern Creek.

He was left struggling to breathe properly for several terrifying minutes and rushed to Westmead Hospital with a pneumothor­ax, which is a small pocket of air in the chest, and two broken ribs.

The injuries will require him to spend days in hospital.

An urgent Navy and V8 Supercars investigat­ion was last night under way into the flyover, which was part of the track entertainm­ent.

“He was in trouble. He couldn’t breathe,” Holden Racing Team boss Adrian Burgess said. “I could see he was in a lot of pain.”

The incident was slammed by a number of V8 Supercar team bosses, who said they had never seen anything remotely similar in previous demonstrat­ions.

The Navy last night confirmed it was conducting an investigat­ion but declined to confirm how low the helicopter was flying.

Courtney tweeted a picture of himself in the ambulance with the caption: “Didn’t think this was going to happen today … Doc has me flying.’’ His wife Carys was last night by his side.

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