Driver pinned underneath burning truck

2016-09-22 09:27
Howick firefighters work to extinguish the flames of a truck that had rolled down an embankment while paramedics treat and try to free the man trapped underneath the truck's cab.

Howick firefighters work to extinguish the flames of a truck that had rolled down an embankment while paramedics treat and try to free the man trapped underneath the truck's cab. (ER24)

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A dramatic two-hour rescue to free a man from underneath a burning truck on Tuesday night has left the truck driver in a critical, but stable condition.

At 7 pm on Tuesday, ER24 paramedics rushed out to Lions River where they had a report of a truck on fire that had fallen down an embankment.

ER24 advanced life paramedic Tristen Manning said that the truck, which was transporting fish oil, appeared to have gone off the side of the road near the Lions River turnoff, rolling three or four metres down an embankment where the truck’s mini tank ruptured and burst into flames.

The truck had the mini tank and a larger tank attached to its cab, with the mini tank in flames and the larger tank seeming “relatively safe” from catching alight.

The Howick Fire Department, Mooi River Fire Department and ER24 split into two groups, with one group working quickly to extinguish the raging flames of the mini tank and the other working to free the truck driver from underneath the cab.

Manning said the cab had pinned the driver from the waist down with the patient being “very much awake”.

“He was fully conscious, very much awake and in a lot of pain,” said Manning.

“Besides being pinned underneath the cab, he was petrified of how near the fire was to him while being trapped.

“It took over two hours of work from the Howick Fire Department, car towing services and paramedics to free the man from under the cab,” said Manning.

He said it had been a difficult operation and paramedics had had to work on saving the man’s life while others tried to extinguish the fire and remove the cab. The driver, a foreign national, sustained minor burns to his face and left arm and a broken pelvis.

Although his chest was cleared of any possible injuries, the driver’s left leg had been “completely crushed” from the hip down and a fractured femur in his right leg. The left leg is believed to have been amputated due to the severity of the injury and he was in a critical, but stable condition at Edendale Hospital.

ER24 spokesperson Russel Meiring said the cause of the accident was unknown and that local authorities were at the scene of the crash for further investigations.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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