Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Yesterday there was a car crash about twenty metres from my house. Full report is here, and it lead the news bulletins in Victoria last night. In short: Car drives up on footpath - 14 injured.
Yeah, I live in Lorne.
I was sitting in my front courtyard leaving a message on my friend Melody's phone at the time. The crash shook my house's windows and Melody later reported that it was clearly audible on the message.
Lorne is a small town of only 950 people, but at this time of year there's anywhere up to 20,000 people hanging about. It's a tourist town, right by the beach and there's plenty of holiday accommodation. Yesterday was perfect seaside weather. Sunny and blue sky, hot but not oppressive and thousands of people were walking around eating icecreams and yapping and being happy when this car suddenly drives up the footpath, plows through all the pedestrians and then crashes through a fence and lands on top of some other cars in a picnic area carpark at the resort.
I was on the scene in seconds - along with about a thousand other people who were either screaming in horrow, howling with trauma, assessing injuries, picking themselves off the ground where they had dived to get out of the way, or desperately trying to help.
Fortunately, nobody died (though one poor little kid has spinal damage).
* The car that caused the damage was on top of some other cars, smoking badly, and I kid you not, about 60-80 people converged upon it to free the three occupants within seconds of it happening. I don't know much about cars and fire, but in the movies it would have exploded and who are we to say that it wouldn't happen in real life? There were so many people rushing to help that I almost had to join a queue to lend assistance. A few hours later it made me feel better about the human species. Say what you will of how horrible we all are, but in a crisis, we're not too bad. For about half an hour afterwards, anyone who looked slightly off was given attention, free food and drink from local cafes, anything they wanted. It was actually quite touching.
* Seeing the little kids in pain was awful, but just as awful was the trauma of their parents and families. I'm not a parent, so I can only imagine what they were going through. Those poor people.
* There happened to be a doctor walking past who took immediate control of the situation and was yelling orders at everyone (he told me off for offering water to victims... I never knew that would/could be a bad thing but I do now). He was bloody brilliant, and he was running from one victim to the next very quickly assessing the damage and giving stern but professional orders to everyone. Oh, and he was Vietnamese-looking. Hey, Pauline Hanson: FUCK YOU. I prefer a legend like this bloke in my country to you or anyone who digs you.
* Police, CFA, ambulances, SES, medical choppers and hospital transporters were all there in under six or seven minutes which was remarkable given a) the small town thing and b) the intense traffic jams. I sat back and marvelled at all of them.
In the end, aside from being one of the possibly hundreds that made the 000 call and offering a sip of water and a cigarette to one bloke who had managed to jump out of the way just in time, my involvement in this episode was zero. It was carnage outside my front door, but I was safe and snug, and all that's left this morning is a temporary fence... my best wishes go to all the injured and their families.
In other news, tomorrow, I'm going away for three nights with my new chick who I'm calling for the moment Andromeda 3.4 (if it gets serious, she's promoted to Andromeda 4.0). Going away and spending 72 hours together is perhaps a little risky so early in the romance, but I figure it will mean we can quickly determine whether or not there's a future in it. Here's hoping... but even if the romance dies, at least we'll be in good company whilst we're away: Nick Cave, The Saints, The Dirty Three, Smog. Music heaven on Mt. Buller. Can't wait.
Seeyas next week.
Posted by Perseus at 1:31 PM