Kiwis hailed as heroes after burning car rescue in Canada

A New Zealand couple passing by a burning vehicle defied emergency services and are now being hailed as heroes.

Kiwi couple Stephanie Saxton and Buddy Harwood were on their way to Whistler, British Columbia, when a cloud of dust alerted them to a flipped vehicle that was engulfed in flames on the side of the road with 5 people inside.

The couple immediately stopped their car to help.

“I quickly called 911 and the lady was telling me not to let the boys near the car,” Saxton wrote on Facebook.

“As a firefighter, it was natural instinct to just get in there,” Harwood told the NZ Herald.  “I instantly thought ‘it could blow’ and so I stood back. But then I heard banging and I looked down and it was a young kid screaming. He was screaming, ‘Help, help’. You just cannot walk away from that.”

Harwood and another motorist, named Mike Devine, smashed one of the car’s windows with a rock.  Harwood used a knife to cut the driver’s seatbelt.

“The flames were just getting big, they were starting to catch on, it was getting ridiculous,” Harwood told CTV. “So I just grabbed him, pulled him out, grabbed the mom, left and just screamed ‘get up the hill’ because the car was just about to go.”

“Right when he got to the top of the embankment the car had exploded!” Saxton wrote on Facebook. “Honestly, this was by far the scariest and most life-threatening thing I have ever seen.”

In total, five people were pulled from the car.

Mr Harwood spent about 30 minutes doing CPR but could not revive the man. The rest of the family survived and were taken to hospital.

“We did everything we could. It was sad one life was lost but they are lucky they didn’t get burned alive. It could have been so bad.” Harwood told the NZ Herald.

Police told CTV News they believe all five passengers would have died in the vehicle if not for the several Good Samaritans, including an off-duty doctor and nurse, who helped the passengers in the car crash.

Last year Harwood rescued a woman trapped in her car in New Zealand, during heavy flooding near Waihi Beach, by using his elbow to smash open her car window.

Original story published on CTV news. Additional information from the NZ Herald.

Tags: Buddy Harwood  Canada  CTV News  Hero  NZ Herald  rescue  

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