Athen Barnaby, a 33-year-old man from Gold Coast, is being hailed as a hero after he pulled out a man from a burning truck on an M1 bridge over the Nerang river on Tuesday. Barnaby said he did not stop to think about his own safety when he rushed to save a 60-year-old man trapped in the truck.
He said that a group of people were initially trying to douse the fire but when he saw it was not coming under control, he rushed to save the man inside instead.
“I thought, well, I’ve got to do something, because the old man couldn’t get out anymore,” the ABC quoted him as saying. “He was screaming, he couldn’t see, he was dazed. So I just decided to go for it. My family is next to the truck on the road watching but I couldn’t watch that old man burn. I stopped the car right parallel to him. I jumped out. Went across over to the railing to see if the driver was still there. I assumed he wasn’t conscious or still alive but then in 10 or 20 seconds we saw his head pop out.”
He said he and few others tried to bring the fire under control with extinguishers, but when they ran out of gas and powder, he decided he should do something.
“I didn’t think about myself. I’ve been in so many accidents in my life — I’ve always cared for others more than myself,” he told the ABC.
A footage showed Barnaby helping the driver out of the truck that was lying on its side belching out a large amount of thick smoke, only moments before the cargo inside exploded. The 9 News reported that the 60-year-old had only managed to get through the window after the truck skidded into a guardrail at 2 pm.
Barnaby’s actions were described as heroic by Queensland’s Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey.
“The actions of people at the time to rescue the driver was just magnificent and they should be absolutely praised,” the ABC quoted him as saying. “You have great faith in our fellow people acting to save someone’s life.”