Family reaches out to men who lifted car off injured dad
DARLENE Williams hopes she will soon be able to thank in person the group of strong Kiwis who saved her husband John's life.
Nearly five months have passed since John Williams was pinned under his rolled ute on the Warrego Hwy at Yuleba, east of Roma.
The searing heat of the muffler and crushing weight of the ute left the Central Highlands man with terrible burns and many broken bones.
All I could hear was this groan. And the smell, it was a smell you would never forget
Mrs Williams was travelling in convoy behind John and their 16-year-old son Toby as they made their way east on the evening of January 6.
The gemstone collecting family had been driving all day, having stopped a few times for a quick fossick between their Gemfields home and Roma.
They had packed Mrs Williams' and Toby's gear to move them to Brisbane for a while.
After having dinner at Roma, their plan was to pull up at a Yuleba rest stop to sleep for the night.
"I was behind them and I saw them sort of swerve to the left," Mrs Williams said.
Mr Williams tried to correct the ute before it rolled six times, coming to a rest on its wheels.
Mrs Williams pulled up quickly and was heartened to see her son and their dog Grub emerge from the dust.
She was on the phone to 000 as she approached the wrecked vehicle.
"I went to the ute and John wasn't there."
A faint noise from under the ute soon tipped her off as to what had happened to her husband.
"All I could hear was this groan.
"And the smell, it was a smell you would never forget.
"Unbeknownst to me it was the muffler burning into his face, neck and shoulder."
John just wants to say thank you
She was helpless to save him, until a couple of car loads of New Zealand passers-by stopped to help.
"I got them to lift it (the ute) up from the back end."
She said she and another man were able to move Mr Williams from danger.
He had suffered a bleed on the brain, multiple breaks to all of his ribs, severe burns to the left side of his face, neck and shoulder, a broken back and shoulder bone.
His recovery suffered a major setback when the Williams' returned to their property to find their home destroyed by fire.
Mrs Williams said her family was doing it tough at the moment but still wanted to thank the men who saved her husband.
"John just wants to say thank you."