COFFS Harbour soccer star Ben Mackay is lucky to be alive after he was trapped under a five tonne excavator that rolled off the side of a truck and toppled down a steep incline yesterday.
Clinging to the inside of the cabin, he held on for dear life as the up-ended excavator rolled almost 20 metres down the hill. When it came to rest his leg was pinned under the frame of the earthmover.
His workmate Barry Goodenough ran to his aid, using a shovel to dig him free in the luckiest of escapes.
Limping away from the incident, Ben was rushed to the Coffs Harbour Health Campus where he was treated for shock and minor injuries to his leg.
His father, Kevin, said the family were counting their lucky blessings.
“I am just so relieved. Ben is very lucky to be alive, things could have turned out a lot worse,” Mr Mackay said.
“As his father, I just can’t say how thankful I am that he got out of it alive.
“Looking at the excavator and how far it rolled down the hill, geez I just cannot believe he made it out... I’m just so thankful.”
The incident happened about 8.45am on a Middle Boambee Road property where Ben’s company, KBS Mackay, had been contracted.
He was in the process of backing the excavator off a truck when it rolled.
Nearby resident Adrian Penny was mowing his lawn, when he heard the crash.
“He was in a lot of pain by the time I got there,” Mr Penny said.
“I just ran and got a shovel so the other bloke could dig him free.
“How he managed to avoid being run over by the excavator is beyond me.”
Emergency crews reached the scene quickly and ambulance officer Mick Mair said Ben was already freed when paramedics arrived.
“A very lucky man. The excavator could have rolled over him, fortunately he was confined to the cabin,” said Mr Mair.
State Emergency Service crews also attended, mopping up the diesel spill and making sure the excavator didn’t roll further. Yesterday afternoon a crane was used to salvage the excavator and stand it upright.
Ben Mackay, a former first-grade representative with Coffs City United, retired last season after holding a claim over North Coast Football’s Golden Boot award as the competition’s leading goal scorer.