Graphic mock accident gets message across to students

IT MAY have been a graphic stunt, but it certainly made an impact.

Students from Lindisfarne Anglican Grammar School were visibly affected after being exposed to a mock car accident yesterday - with one student passing out and others shedding tears while watching the drama unfold.

The stunt was designed to ram home in the most confronting and graphic way possible the dangers of drink-driving and wreckless driving for young people.

Tweed Heads police, ambulance and fire crews all took part in the demonstration that played out in real time on the school grounds and saw four young "victims" being treated and removed from a car wreck.

It started in what was meant to be the aftermath of a serious crash, with one young victim apparently lying unconscious and bloodied after being thrown through the windshield. Two male victims also lay unmoving inside the car, while another dirty and bloodied female lay beside the car weeping.

One by one, the emergency crews arrived on the scene with their flashing lights and sirens, each demonstrating what they would do when attending a real car crash.

The demonstration ended when each victim had been treated and the "body" of the passenger lying on the dashboard was removed from the car after fire crews used a chainsaw to take a door off.

The stunt was the brainchild of seven students from Bond University in Queensland, who put the project together as part of a class assessment on negotiations.

One of the students, Thomas Campeanu, a former Lindisfarne student, said he had heard of similar demonstrations in the United States where two of his fellow group members hailed from.

He said the group wanted to focus on drinking and dangerous driving, something they were all passionate about, with one member admitting he had lost a close friend in a car accident.

The demonstration was filmed by a local filmmaker and Mr Campeanu said his group was in negotiations with police to see if the film could be shown to other schools. "The way we look at it is if it stops one young drink-driver from having a crash from drink-driving in the%future, then it was all worth it."

The car crash victims were Year 12 Lindisfarne students who were all made to look bloodied and bruised by professional Elanora-based make-up artist Suzi Dent.

Ms Dent said she used special effects make-up to provide the%students with flesh injuries and broken noses, with real dirt.

"We used lashings of strawberry and chocolate topping splattered around the car and on the ground," she said. "Thomas told me he wanted it to be really realistic."

The graphic nature of the stunt certainly left an impression on the school's year 10, 11 and 12 students, who remained silent throughout the entire 40-minute demonstration.

Everyone involved in yesterday's exercise was given a thorough debriefing after the event, with emergency crews staying on to answer any questions.



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