Debbie Smith, of Bilambil, saw a car crash from her balcony and rushed down to help.
Debbie Smith, of Bilambil, saw a car crash from her balcony and rushed down to help. Crystal Spencer

Modest hero saves crash victim

DEBBIE Smith will not call herself a hero, but the 21-year-old she saved from a life in a wheelchair may have a different opinion.

Mrs Smith was enjoying the view from her Bilambil home on a Sunday afternoon in May when a 4WD utility came off the road and landed on its hood near her home.

Being a nurse with more than 20 years experience, Mrs Smith’s natural instincts took over as she rushed out to lend a hand.

“I was assuming they would be dead because that’s how devastating the car looked,” Mrs Smith said.

Fortunately, the driver, 19, escaped the Scenic Drive crash unscathed, and his 21-year-old female passenger was conscious but still trapped inside the upside-down vehicle.

“She was lying on the roof of the ute, complaining of back pain, so I got in next to her,” said Mrs Smith, who is an optical nurse at the Eye Care Clinic in Coolangatta.

“I said ‘I know it’s uncomfortable, but you just have to lay there’.

“I held her head really still, chatted to her and kept her really calm.

“It wasn’t much at all,” a modest Mrs Smith said.

“My main thing was to keep her calm; keep her blood pressure down.

“I didn’t know if she had any sort of internal injuries.”

The young woman had received spinal injuries in the crash, and any movement could have resulted in lifelong damage.

“The police rang me the other day and asked if the family could contact me to thank me,” Mrs Smith said.

“The policeman said ‘Congratulations, you’ve saved this girl from a life in a wheelchair’.”

Mrs Smith was with the woman for about 20 minutes before ambulance officers stabilised her and the Tweed District Rescue Squad removed her from the ute.

“I could see and smell fuel dripping and I thought, ‘I won’t say anything to her’.

“You just do what you do. I wasn’t really scared.”

Mrs Smith was “dobbed in” to the Tweed Daily News this week by her proud husband.

“I don’t think I’m a hero at all.

“I just helped. I just thought, ‘this poor thing’.”

A phone call from the woman’s father this week was more than Mrs Smith expected.

“Her father rang and thanked me very much; they were quite appreciative.

“I told him to tell her I’d do it any time again for her.”



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