The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter at the scene where a cane farmer was critically burned at Harwood.
The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter at the scene where a cane farmer was critically burned at Harwood. Contributed

Farmer in fire drama

A 62-YEAR-OLD Harwood man is in a critical condition following an accident on his property on Thursday.

Cane farmer Howard Werry was treated at the scene by local paramedics before being airlifted, via the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter, to Lismore Base Hospital.

Mr Werry suffered partial burns to his hands, leg and face.

At Lismore, he was stabilised before being transferred to a Sydney hospital in the evening.

A spokesman from the Ambulance Service of NSW said the victim's 28-year-old daughter had also been treated for smoke inhalation before being transported to Maclean Hospital.

The incident happened about 10.30am on Mr Werry's property in Nicholson's Ln, Harwood.

Fire from one cane field jumped to another and Mr Werry then attempted to save his one-year-old cane in that second field.

Neighbour and fellow cane farmer John Young said Mr Werry had acted quickly, hoping to prevent further damage to his cane crop.

"He (Mr Werry) told me he jumped onto a tractor owned by another neighbour, but he wasn't familiar with it.

"Unfortunately, he selected the wrong gear and charged into the fire rather than backing away from it," Mr Young said.

The tractor did not have a cabin.

Mr Young was at the scene soon after, providing first aid before he and several other neighbours helped put the fire out.

"Fortunately it didn't spread, and by the time the RFS arrived, we had it under control," Mr Young said.

The Rural Fire Service provided crews from Iluka and Gulmarrad.



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