Tourists survive highway crash

Recovering: A backpacker is treated after the accident at Swan Creek yesterday.
Recovering: A backpacker is treated after the accident at Swan Creek yesterday.

THEY were planning on visiting Grafton, but not like this.

John-Pierre Vester, 23, and his friend Marcus Schuit, 22, both of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, had spent the night in Byron Bay.

They were planning on checking out Grafton yesterday when the Ford Falcon Mr Vester was driving rolled sideways several times and came to rest in a paddock at Swan Creek about 11.40am.

Mr Vester's right forearm was trapped under the roof of the vehicle, but he was released a short time later by people at the scene.

People travelling behind the young backpackers who witnessed the accident, told police the car drifted off to the left before the driver appeared to attempt to regain control of the vehicle.

It was then, said a police officer at the scene, Mr Vester lost control of the car on the western side of the road.

The car, he said, started to roll as it hit the grass verge on the side of the highway.

Torn grass marked the path where the car appeared to have tumbled over several times, sideways, down the embankment.

It knocked down two heavy fencing poles on its way into the paddock, dug up turf on its entry before coming to rest about 15 metres from the fence line, amid a shower of debris.

Mr Schuit said he and Mr Vester had been heading to Sydney for Christmas and new year celebrations.

He said he could not remember exactly what had happened, except for veering side to side, adding it had happened so quickly.

The investigating police officer said he wouldn't speculate as to what made the driver lose control on what is a straight section of the higway.

George Want, owner of the cattle-grazing paddock which the toursists ended up in, said he hadn't seen a car crash in his paddock for at least a decade.

“You can't blame the highway for this one,” he said.

Mr Vester suffered minor soft tissue injuries to his arm.

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