A brave motorist risked his own life to rescue a man from a burning ute on a remote highway in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Cootamundra man, Michael Van Baast, didn’t think twice when he encountered Jacob Prosser, 22, trapped inside his burning white ute which had collided with a tree on Olympic Highway.
Courageously setting his own safety aside, Mr Van Baast made the split second decision to smash his way to the young injured driver after hearing an explosion beneath the ute’s bonnet.
What started as a weak smoulder quickly developed into tall flames, which first engulfed the front of the ute before creeping into the dashboard.
‘I thought, I’ve gotta get this guy out right now,’ he told Prime 7 News Wagga.
Ripping down the door frame, the selfless technology company director used ‘brute force’ to wrangle Mr Prosser to safety.
‘I thought, nah, this is not going to end well, so I just decided to just brute force him out,’ he recalled.
‘I jumped up on top of the car and got a good grip on him, and just started yanking.’
Michael Van Baast (pictured) used ‘brute force’ to wrangle Mr Prosser, 22, to safety after flames engulfed his crashed ute
Meanwhile, the young driver drifted in and out of consciousness as Mr Van Baast struggled against his legs which were trapped inside vehicle.
Emergency crews arrived shortly after the injured driver was dragged to safety, with an overwhelmed Mr Van Baast keeling over in relief.
He has since been a hailed a hero by the community and Mr Prosser’s family, who say they will nominate him for a bravery award.
Mr Prosser was treated for burns and a broken leg, and underwent surgery on Tuesday.
Jacob Prosser drifted in and out of consciousness as Mr Van Baast struggled against his legs which were trapped inside vehicle
Dashcam footage shared to social media has been flooded with praise for Mr Van Baast’s heroic actions, with many saying he was more than deserving of the prestigious recognition.
‘I would be extremely disheartened if the Australian of the year award does no go to this man! What an absolute legend!,’ one user wrote.
Another adding: ‘That was an amazing rescue, that young man is lucky his rescuer was a strong man. I hope he has a speedy recovery from his injuries.’
‘Extraordinary footage, the young chap who crashed his car should be counting his lucky stars someone was there rescue him in time!’
Mr Van Baast has since been a hailed a hero by the community and Mr Prosser’s family, who say they will nominate him for a bravery award