Driver 'lucky to be alive' after car skids off highway and catches fire

HEROIC ACT: Truck driver Daniel Nicolle put a stranger's safety ahead of his own when he searched for survivors inside a burning car. Picture: Kate Healy

HEROIC ACT: Truck driver Daniel Nicolle put a stranger's safety ahead of his own when he searched for survivors inside a burning car. Picture: Kate Healy

A truck driver’s routine trip from Horsham to Ballarat turned out to be a mission to save a person’s life when he spotted a car in flames off the Western Highway at Stawell.

Ballarat resident Daniel Nicolle noticed fresh skid marks on the highway, 200 metres before the London Road exit, around 3am on Friday, March 10.

“I looked to my left and saw the bushes were flat and then I saw a pair of hazard lights,” he said.

“I always thought what I would do if I came upon an accident and that thought was answered.”

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Mr Nicolle said he parked his truck and ran towards the burning car. 

“There was a lick of flame coming out of the grill. I saw that and I was off, down the embankment, across the thick high grass, straight to the car,” he said.

“I looked inside the front and down onto the floor, then into the back and on the floor again. I checked the windscreen and noticed it only had a couple of cracks so nobody could have been thrown through it.

“I stuck my head back inside to double check that no child had fallen to the floor when I heard a whoosh sound. The windscreen had saved me from copping a face full of fire from the engine bay.”

Mr Nicolle said he finally noticed the female driver, who seemed disoriented and in a state of shock, so he called emergency services. 

The driver, Kalyan Ky, was driving from Melbourne to Adelaide when a “dark figure” emerged in front of her on the Western Highway.

“I swerved and skidded off the road and went through some wire on the side of the road and into a paddock,” she said.

“The car started burning so my first instinct was to grab my phone and get out.”

Mrs Ky said she had no idea of her whereabouts and thanked the truck driver for his help.

“The fact the truck driver stopped and went in to save my life was incredible,” she said.

Mrs Ky was taken to Stawell Hospital, but escaped with minor injuries. 

“My vehicle was burnt to smithereens. I was told how I was lucky I was to be alive. I am so grateful,” she said.

“Stawell Hospital even paid for my ticket to Adelaide. That was remarkable.”

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