Seven injured in gas bottle fire
BARNEY Miller was jolted awake by a man calling for ‘doctors and nurses’ when a quiet night at Point Plomer camping ground near Crescent Head descended into disaster on Saturday night.
Mr Miller, a quadraplegic surfer from Sawtell, was to find out later that around 11pm a campfire had ignited a damaged gas bottle, seriously injuring seven people.
“Someone was running around calling ‘any doctors or nurses there has been an accident’,” he said.
“I was there with about 25 guys and everyone went into panic mode.
“They started getting as much fresh water as they could and a lot of them went over to help before the ambulances arrived.
“A couple of them nursed the youngest kid and tried to calm the mother down.
“There was a huge scene, with fire fighters, ambulances and two helicopters. There was so much noise until early hours of the morning.
A five-year-old boy who sustained burns to 80 per cent of his body was airlifted to the Children’s Hospital at Westmead. He was in a stable condition yesterday.
Another camper, a 43-year-old man who it is believed saved the boy’s life, was in a serious but stable condition at Royal North Shore Hospital’s intensive care unit.
The man is said to have dragged the youngster out of his burning tent.
“We wouldn’t have got Cameron out if it wasn’t for that man racing in the way he did . . . he is a true hero,” the boy’s grandfather Cecil Delforce said.
Two other campers, a 40-year-old woman and a 15-year-old girl, were both in serious but stable condition in intensive care and a 21-year-old man was at Royal North Shore’s burns unit, in a stable condition.
A 15-year-old girl from Crescent Head and a man in his early 20s were also recovering in local hospitals yesterday.
“Afterwards everyone was in shock; it felt so surreal, we stayed awake for a long time talking about it and in the morning it felt like we dreamt the whole thing,” Mr Miller said.