Man's brave actions after dramatic train crash
A MAN who saved another man just moments before a train crashed into his motorhome has been commended for his brave conduct.
John Francis Sawtell, of Findon Creek, near Kyogle, went to the assistance of a man who had crashed his motorhome on the night of May 18, 2018.
Mr Sawtell was travelling along Summerland Way near Wiangaree when he came upon a motorhome that had left the road, driven down into a hollow and came to rest on railway tracks.
He immediately stopped his car and approached the motorhome.
He noticed an older male driver had already left the vehicle and was trying to open the side door to find his dog.
At this time, Mr Sawtell heard a train approaching the scene.
He urged the driver to immediately leave but despite his pleas, the driver refused.
Mr Sawtell forcefully explained the impending arrival of the train, as its head lights could be seen and the whistle heard.
They both began to move away from the vehicle and the oncoming train.
Just moments later the train, travelling at 70km/h and unable to stop in time, collided with the motorhome, sending debris into the air and dragging parts of the vehicle some 150m before it came to a complete stop.
During the chaos, Mr Sawtell had become separated from the driver so he rushed back to his car and shone his lights on the debris field to search for the man.
He managed to locate the driver and remained with him until emergency services arrived.
For his actions, Mr Sawtell was today officially commended for brave conduct.
The Governor-General Peter Cosgrove announced the Australian Bravery Decorations today, saying the recipients "displayed courage and bravery to protect or defend others".
"On behalf of all Australians, I thank these Australians for their bravery," he said.
"They are a source of courage, support and inspiration, and we are a stronger, safer and more caring nation because of them.
"These awards honour those who, without pause, put themselves at personal risk to protect others.
"They are outstanding and deserve our nation's gratitude."