Graphic: Roo rescue
Nicholas Butler and a couple of backpacker friends had just finished working on a farm in Outback NSW. They were in a ute heading to Cobar to catch a train to Sydney.
Suddenly a kangaroo hopped onto the road. They swerved to avoid hitting it but lost control. The ute rolled and ended up back on its wheels.
“The first thing I did was to shout to see if everyone was alive,” recalls Nicholas, 31. “Adam was awake but Grant was out cold. We had to climb out the driver’s seat window. “I opened the passenger door to look at Grant and there was a lot of blood coming out of his head. He was making groaning sounds as he was coming to I was the only one with a phone so I told Adam to deal with Grant and I called an ambulance.”
While Nicholas passed on instructions from the ambulance crew, Adam gave first aid using clothing at hand. “Then another driver pulled up with a first-aid kit,” says Nicholas. “There wasn’t really anything wrong with me, just grazes. It seemed like a long time before the ambulance arrived but it was probably only about 15 minutes. The police and fire fighters arrived as well.
“They checked Adam out as well because he had some pain in his back. He was put in a neck brace and we were taken to Cobar hospital.” “I had blood and heart testing and was given painkillers for my sore neck,” says Nicholas.
Because Cobar has no specialist equipment, the Flying Doctor was called in to take Grant for further testing in Dubbo. “I flew in the plane with Grant, which was pretty cool,” says Nicholas. “He’d had some stitches and painkillers and was still able to have a joke.”
Our Dubbo Base flight nurse, Michael Cook, cared for Grant on the flight. “We were concerned about possible organ damage with Grant,” recalls Michael. “He didn’t complain of any pain in his back but we of course used spinal precautions. He’d hit his head on the road as well. There were no critical signs of any swelling but it needed to be checked.”
Nicholas says he recalls the television show, The Flying Doctors, from his childhood in Britain, but never expected to be taking a flight. “I knew you could be flown to somewhere if you needed help but that’s about all,” he says. “I’d been looking forward to our holiday for a long time. We were going trekking to Everest Base Camp for my birthday. That would have been amazing. But we were very lucky that the accident wasn’t worse and that the Flying Doctor was there to rescue us.”
Since this interview, Nicholas has continued his travels and Grant has returned to Glasgow, where he is expected to make a full recovery.