Bravery award for ‘typical Aussie bloke’ after fatal crash
IT HAS been five years since David Ferris saved the lives of two men trapped in a burning car but the sight, the smells and the sounds are still vivid in his memory.
Mr Ferris was making the trip down the Tinbeerwah Range in July 2010 to take his cattle dog Toby to the beach, when he was faced with a fiery hell on the roadside in front of him.
He and complete stranger Brock Grazotis, of Tewantin, were in the right place at the right time to drag three men from their burning cars after a head-on smash on Cooroy-Noosa Rd.
Sadly one of the drivers passed away.
The two men will be honoured with bravery awards.
A four-wheel drive and a sedan collided head on just metres away from Mr Ferris as he turned on to an intersection. Both cars went up in flames.
There was no time to think, the self-confessed "typical Aussie bloke" became a hero when he sprang into action.
"It was still dark, it was early when I was going for a surf when I was waiting to turn at the t-intersection," he recalled.
"I could have gone but I thought I'd just wait for the car to go past before I went.
"Then the crash happened right in front of me.
"One of the cars was on fire straight away.
"I parked about 20 metres away, left the dog in the car and ran out.
"I was in my boardies and no shoes on, so I was walking over glass and debris but I didn't really think about it, I was going on adrenaline."
Mr Ferris heard cries for help from two men in the four-wheel drive, so turned his attention to rescuing them.
"I tried to help the driver first but his leg was stuck, he was panicking, I just tried to calm him down," he said.
"The passenger was halfway out so I helped to get him out of the window and that's when I heard this big bang and the flames got bigger in the other car."
A female motorist arrived and he yelled for her to call an ambulance, as he rushed to the aid of the driver.
When the doors were all jammed, he told the driver to lean over and despite the engine bay being alight, managed to drag him out of a smashed window and move him to safety.
"I remember dragging him out of the back window, it was just that clammy smell," Mr Ferris said.
"He was panicking and sweating a lot and I just will never get that smell of blood out of my head.
"I'd love to meet them both one day, just to see how they're going."
As Mr Ferris pulled the two men to safety, another passer-by stopped and bravely tried to save the teenage driver from the burning wreck.
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Tewantin's Brock Grazotis went to the other vehicle and saw a teenage driver unconscious at the wheel.
Mr Grazotis used a knife from his car to cut the seatbelt and dragged the unconscious driver from the car.
Both cars then exploded, blowing the doors off one of the vehicles.
Mr Grazotis, who could not be contacted by the Daily, performed CPR on the driver until the ambulance arrived.
Sadly, the teenager did not survive.
Mr Ferris and Mr Grazotis have both been awarded a Commendation for Brave Conduct in the Australian Bravery Awards list.
"I just reacted... you do what you have to do in that situation," Mr Ferris said.
"There was no one else there, so they were calling for help, so I just had to help them.
"I never thought I'd be getting something like this. I'm just a typical Aussie bloke."
Mr Ferris, who is now the proud dad of six-month-old Ruby with partner Carrie Jeffery, said he considered the horrific incident "done and dusted", and the bravery award was as unexpected as the life and death situation he found himself in that day.
But he still thinks about the "what ifs" and the scenarios if he had turned the corner a few seconds earlier.
"It has changed the way I drive that's for sure.
"I just keep thinking it could have been me."
Ms Jeffery said they were not sure who nominated her brave partner for the award, but he deserved it.
"Giving way to traffic that day probably saved his life," she said.
"He's such a loyal person and would do anything for his friends and family so it's just what he's like.
"It's the second time he's done something like this. Three years ago he helped rescue a family from their bus during the floods.
"He's great, he's my hero."