AN Evans Head man is fighting for his life in the Gold Coast University hospital following a fiery two-car crash on the Pacific Highway south of Ballina on Saturday morning that claimed two lives.
Joshua Knapp, 33, of Evans Head was travelling north on the highway at about 6.20am when the car he was driving collided with a southbound vehicle which burst into flames about 5km south of Ballina at Pimlico.
Mr Knapp was found by emergency services lying on the highway suffering serious head and leg injuries.
The two occupants of the other vehicle, a 54-year-old man and a 59-year-old woman from Smiths Lake, near Forster, were found dead inside their car once it was extinguished.
Mr Knapp was treated at the scene before being airlifted by the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter in a critical condition to the Gold Coast University hospital.
Doctors spent most of Saturday operating on Mr Knapp in an attempt to save him.
Yesterday Ballina police acting Inspector Jackie Lilley said Mr Knapp was in an induced coma in a critical condition with head and lower limb injuries.
It is understood Mr Knapp was on his way to work in Ballina when the crash occurred.
He is a plant operator with Ballina Shire Council.
The council's general manager, Paul Hickey, said Mr Knapp had worked with the council for more than 11 years.
"He is a great young man and this is a very sad time for everyone at the council," Mr Hickey said.
"We're just hoping that he makes a full recovery.
"Our thoughts are with Josh and his family."
A friend of Mr Knapp's, Cristy Robertson of Grafton, said she was shocked to hear about the crash.