Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Everyday Aussie Towing Hero to be Honored

A round of applause goes to Trevor Oliver, 46, for his rescue efforts on April 3, 2007. He is a director of Western Truck Towing and, next year, he will receive an Australian Bravery Medal for rescuing two people from a burning car.

Here's the Wimmera Mail-Times story:
HORSHAM truck towing operator Trevor Oliver will receive an Australian Bravery Medal for rescuing two people from a burning car.

Governor-General of Australia Major General Michael Jeffrey said Mr Oliver, 46, would be one of 24 Australians to receive the medal.

Mr Oliver, a director of Western Truck Towing in Horsham, played down his rescue efforts after a head-on collision on the Bacchus Marsh- Geelong Road on April 3, 2007.

"I was just Johnny-on-the-spot. I would have hoped if I was in the same situation someone else would help me and do the same thing," he said.

Mr Oliver said the crash had left a VW transporter on its roof and burning with a man trapped inside.

"I've never seen a vehicle go up so quickly in all my time in the towing industry," he said.

"I climbed in through the window and the bloke had his legs on fire and I couldn't get him out of the seat.

"I soon realised he was trapped by his seat belt so I cut him out with my pocket knife and dragged him out of the window.

"Another bloke helped me get him out of the window."

Mr Oliver said the other vehicle, a panel van, was embedded into the VW transporter.

"It was a painter's van so it had turps, paints, thinners in it and it was starting to catch fire," he said.

Mr Oliver and a co-rescuer secured a chain from the panel van to a truck at the scene and dragged the van 40 metres down the road.

He stayed at the scene to reassure and comfort the trapped driver, helping cushion and support him until ambulance and rescue personnel arrived.

The two men in the accident were airlifted to the Alfred Hospital.

Mr Oliver said he was amazed how quickly it all happened.

"It all happened in five minutes but seemed to take about half an hour. I was amazed at how many people pulled up and drove off, not many stopped to help," he said.

Mr Oliver now lives in Bacchus Marsh after moving from Buangor, where he lived for 23 years and was a CFA member.

He said his experience in the CFA and as a tow truck driver for 28 years helped him deal with the situation.

Mr Oliver said he was reunited with the man who had been trapped in the panel van through the Channel Seven TV program Medical Emergency.

Maj Gen Jeffrey said Mr Oliver displayed considerable bravery.

"Today's announcement of national bravery awards recognises the heroic actions of those among us who have placed the safety and lives of others before their own," he said.

Mr Oliver will be presented with his medal next year.

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