Gordonville rescue tests Coffs emergency crews

EMERGENCY services crews were faced with a difficult rescue operation following a single-vehicle accident at Gordonville on Saturday night.

Bellingen Police said a 53-year-old Thora man had to be extracted from his small European van by Urunga SES after his car left Summervilles Road for unknown reasons, crashed down an embankment and hit a tree about 8.30pm on Saturday.

The accident occurred about one kilometre west of the Gordonville Crossing intersection.

Urunga SES rescue officer Peter Butt said the driver was pinned behind the dashboard and steering wheel and the fire wall.

He said it was a particularly difficult and complicated rescue because the van was at an extreme angle in steep and unstable terrain among trees and shrubs, risking injury to rescuers.

As a result, the rescue officer said he did something he did not usually do - move the vehicle before releasing the occupant.

SES volunteers used two manually-operated winching systems worked in unison to haul the vehicle into a stable position on the road, where they were able to quickly release the driver, who police said was pinned by his legs.

The driver was taken to Coffs Harbour Health Campus by ambulance about 11pm and is understood to have suffered minor cuts and abrasions.

He was admitted to hospital overnight but was discharged yesterday.

Peter Butt paid tribute to the work of police and ambulance officers involved in the rescue, which was also attended by Gleniffer Rural Fire Brigade. Gleniffer RFS volunteer Jonathon Lockyer said it had taken at least another hour for SES and RFS volunteers to clean up and pack away equipment and hoses, making a long night for emergency services crew members.

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