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Five recognised for car smash rescue

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 29/09/2016

Five people have been recognised for their bravery in saving the lives of four occupants of a burning vehicle involved in a fatal road smash in Manawatu.

One of them, Murray Michie, who repeatedly went back into vehicle to free a woman and her three daughters, has been awarded the Royal Humane Society of New Zealand's Silver Medal.

The crash happened on State Highway 3 near Bulls in July last year, when the driver of a Mitsubishi car, estimated to be travelling at more than 150km/h, lost control and hit a Toyota Landcruiser head-on.

The driver of the Mitsubishi was killed instantly.

The Landcruiser and a horsefloat it was towing jack-knifed and the vehicle ended on its roof and in flames.

When Mr Michie arrived at the scene, he worked to free all four occupants.

One of the girls made it out of the rear hatch that Mr Michie opened. The three others had to be cut free from their seatbelts by him with a pocket knife

Four other people - Jamie Yalden, Anthony Duffy, Stacey Watt and Katie Elliott - who were all unknown to each other, joined in the rescue effort, with Mr Yalden and Mr Duffy keeping the flames at bay with fire extinguishers.

The last person out of the wreckage was the driver, who was carried three metres away to safety before the vehicle exploded.

"But for the actions of the five involved in the rescue, each putting themselves in obvious danger, several people would have likely lost their lives," the society said.

Awards: Murray Michie, Silver Medal; Anthony Duffy and Jamie Yalden, Bronze Medal; Stacey Watt and Katie Elliott, Certificate of Merit.

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