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Aussie blasts illegal dumpers after terrifying ordeal: 'Lucky to be alive'

The man had slammed into a water-logged sofa cushion that had blown onto the road, sending his van spinning out of control.

Two men are "lucky to be alive" after a head-on collision with a dumped sofa cushion that sent them spinning out of control and crashing head first into a railing.

Zen Murray was driving through heavy rain with friend Nathan Davies, near Billinudgel on the NSW Far North Coast, when "within a split second" their van hit the dumped, water-logged cushion blown onto their path by strong winds.

"All I could think about was 'don't kill us, don't kill me. I've got two young kids,'" he shared with Yahoo News Australia. "Just thinking about my kids — it's hard to speak about".

Left image is of smashed black iLoad van. Right image is of the brown cushion on the side of the road at Billinudgel.
Two men walked away without injury after a terrifying crash that had their car spinning out control. Source: Facebook

The pair were travelling about 70km/h and had lost control, hitting a wall before crossing to the other side of the road and finally crashing into a guard rail that stopped them from plummeting 40 metres down a tree-lined embankment.

Following the terrifying ordeal, Murray is begging people to stop illegally dumping on the side of the road. He said the sofa had been dumped on the side of the road for weeks.

A car had tried to warn them before the crash

Murray and Davies had been driving their Hyundai iLoad van to pick up food on their way home from work when, at the top of a hill in Billinudgel, north of Byron Bay, an oncoming car had flashed their lights at them.

"I thought he was signalling that there were cops ahead," Murray said. "But I checked and I was going 10kms under the speed limit because of the rain".

Little did he realise, the person was warning him of an oncoming hazard that would see his car destroyed.

Reflecting on the incident, Murray realises how much worse it could have been and how "lucky" he and his mate were that there was no car driving on the other side of Brunswick Valley Motorway at the time of his crash.

A warning to illegal dumpers

Murray shared his experience so people can understand the dangers of illegal dumping. Posting about the incident on social media, he begged people not to dump their unwanted possessions on the side of the road.

"I'd like to thank the people who like to leave rubbish and furniture on the side of the road. My friend and I are lucky to be alive after hitting a couch cushion that had blown onto the road," he shared on Facebook.

"That's terrible," one person replied.

"So dangerous," said another.

"All it takes is for wind to pick up, you add a bit of rain to it, and someone's life is over. It's just not worth it," Murray said while speaking to Yahoo.

Do you have a story about a driving incident? Contact reporter Laura Koefoed at laura.koefoed@yahooinc.com

Council offer free vouchers for the tip

Most councils enforce penalties on people who dump their waste in public places or on the side of the road without permission, and the Byron Shire Council where Murray is located can fine people up to $250,000 for illegally dumping.

"If you don't have the 50 bucks to go to the tip, call the council. [They] actually give out tip vouchers," Murray said. The council's website confirms each household has access to two $50 waste disposal vouchers each financial year and can hire trailers to move waste for free.

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