A group of teenage girls celebrating Schoolies are lucky to be alive after surviving a freak accident in which a fallen tree went straight through their windscreen, and speared through the seat of a passenger who miraculously ducked out of the way. Those rushing to the scene to help were amazed nobody was killed.
The four young women were travelling around K'gari in Queensland — formerly known as Fraser Island — last Wednesday after a huge storm had ravaged the area earlier that day, downing a number of trees.
Speaking to Yahoo News Australia, Red Frogs National Coordinator Andy Gourley, whose team was first on the scene, said the group had "come around the corner and not seen the fallen tree" when it "just went straight through the car".
Miraculous crash on K'gari branded 'freakish'
"It's just freakish that none of them are injured," he said, pointing to the scene showing the passenger headrest impaled by the fallen tree which had come through the windscreen.
"She just ducked it, her instincts were absolutely brilliant," he said.
"They rang triple-0, and by chance our Frog truck was coming around the corner on the same track and the guys were able to assist them.
"But also the real heroes there too were the rangers who rocked up. They organised the tractor to pull the actual branch out, and then we've taken them back to Eurong, where the girls were assessed. They were in a bit of shock of course, as you would be.
Huge community support
"The Kingfisher Bay Resort was very generous in providing accommodation for the girls that night too, so there's really been some amazing community support for these girls."
Gourley said he was astonished each walked away unharmed, adding that the incident should serve as a timely reminder to practice caution when driving through potentially treacherous terrain.
"Well firstly the branch missed them, and then by chance the Frog team were there, then to have the rangers there too — so I think someone was looking out for them, for sure," he said.
"They weren't going expressly fast or anything, they just didn't see that branch coming out, because of all the trees everywhere.
"So I think yeah, it's just a reminder of general safety or you know, just make sure that you don't go [too fast] in those areas," he said.
Though "shaken", the group are now stable and enjoying the rest of their travels, Gourley added.
"It was definitely a bit of a shock, they were very shaken, it was a shaky experience," he said.
Among other vehicles, Red Frogs on K'gari drive the "Beau Ute" donated by Madill Motor Group in order to have access to remote areas including where the accident took place.
"This is the reason we donated the ute to the team, so they had access to these popular hotspots for Schoolies, keeping everyone safe," a Madill team member told Yahoo. "We recently set up a second vehicle for them too, covering even more of our region."
Schoolies 'healthiest' in years
Gourley said this year has been one of the "healthiest" Schoolies events in Queensland that he had seen across the last 26 years.
"There's a lot more non-drinkers, a lot more choosing to do the camping option and just have fun with their mates," he said. "And yeah, there's definitely more non-drinkers in the groups, which means you've got more designated drivers, which means you have more people that can look after their mates.
"So yeah, so it's really good, very healthy."
A spokesperson for Queensland Police told Yahoo the department was aware of the incident.
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