Trapped and critically injured after a horrifying car accident on an isolated country road, Melissa Jones thought she was going to die.
“My legs were all trapped in the front of the car and I was covered in blood and I just could not move,” the grandmother-of-five told Sunday Night reporter Matt Doran.
Mel would spend nearly 11 hours clinging to life and hoping rescuers would find her.
“I was scared. Didn’t know if I was going to live or not because I lost a lot of blood.”
On February 26, Melissa left her home in Tumut, New South Wales, to visit her daughter in Mudgee, 500 kilometres away.
But four hours into her journey, Mel’s vehicle veered off the road and flipped, landing on its side in a ditch.
Miraculously, her phone was within reach and she managed to call triple-0 for help.
“All I can think is, I could be the last person this poor woman ever speaks to,” emergency services operator Kimberly Smith said.
“It was gut wrenching. I didn’t want her to pass away.”
But being unfamiliar with the remote area around her, Mel couldn’t tell the operator where she was.
“It was pitch black. No one around. I couldn’t see any street lights, no houses around,” she said.
Mel’s phone – her only lifeline to her rescuers – ran out just over an hour after the crash.
In a desperate effort to save her life, New South Wales police and SES workers began scouring a massive 300 square kilometre search area.
CCTV vision of Mel’s car at a service station in the town of Kelso was the vital clue searchers needed to work out the route she had taken.
Finally, 11 hours after the accident, an ambulance helicopter dispatched to the area spotted the wreck in the steep ditch just metres from the road.
“I dare not say how long she had, but if we didn’t find her in the next few hours, it might have been a different story,” SES veteran Mike Cole said.
Mel suffered head trauma, internal bleeding and broken bones in her leg, hip and pelvis, but she is just happy to be alive.
“I needed to survive for my family, my grandkids. I couldn’t say goodbye to my family yet,” she said.