RECOVERING: Carmel and Richard Pezet. Picture: The Courier Mail
RECOVERING: Carmel and Richard Pezet. Picture: The Courier Mail

Locals injured in French car crash

By Jane Gardner

A HORROR car accident in southern France has seriously injured three prominent Byron Shire residents.

Richard and Carmel Pezet, of Byron Bay, were travelling in a car with in-laws Bruce and Mary Schumacher, of Ocean Shores, on Tuesday when the accident occurred at the popular surfing town of Biarritz.

Richard's son Jayde Pezet, of the Gold Coast, woke to a phone call at 6am Tuesday with news his mother, aunt and father were in a French hospital with multiple injuries.

Amazingly, his uncle Bruce escaped the accident unharmed.

"I've been told the car is an absolute wreck and they were lucky to get out of it with their lives," Jayde, 28, said.

"I don't know the details, but we're just happy they are alive."

The only contact Jayde has had with his family is a 30-second phone call from his father, Richard, on Wednesday night.

"He told me he's okay and my uncle is 100 per cent perfect and that my aunty and mum have broken legs and arms and crushed discs. They are going in to surgery as we speak." Richard suffered broken bones as well, but did not require surgery, he said.

Jayde said he still did not know where they were headed, who was driving, or what caused the accident "To tell you the truth, no-one has said how it happened, I don't even know if it was with another car," he said.

"I've only spoken to Dad once in the last 24 hours, who said their injuries weren't life-threatening. I just want everyone to know they're all okay.

"Hundreds of people have been calling and I've had to screen my calls to keep the phone lines open.

"It has been really full-on. I haven't had much sleep and my uncle is really, really, rattled. But I've been okay since I heard they were going to be okay."

Jayde flew out of the country to Biarritz late yesterday to be with his family.

Richard Pezet, a 56-year-old builder, is well-known in Byron Bay and has lived there with his wife for 35 years.

Bruce and Mary Schumacher and the Pezets had been on a European holiday since April with plans to return home to the Northern Rivers in two weeks time, after a short stay in Thailand.

Jayde said support from the Australian consulate in France had been 'unbelievable'.

"The lady looking after it spent all day yesterday on the phone and organised emergency insurance companies to help us out."



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