The hero who faced a burning ute to rescue the man inside

THE father of a crash victim who was rescued by a brave passerby moments before the ute explodes into flames has described him as a "true Aussie" hero.

Michael Van Baast was driving at night in Cootamundra, in the NSW Riverina, when he came across the white ute of 22-year-old Jacob Prosser which had smashed into a tree.
 

The ute catches fire as Mr Van Baast attempts to pull him from the wreck. Picture: Prime News Wagga
The ute catches fire as Mr Van Baast attempts to pull him from the wreck. Picture: Prime News Wagga

Dramatic vision shows him going to rescue Mr Prosser who was trapped inside.

He pulls him to safety as fire engulfs the car.

"My opinion of him is that he is like the ANZAC's - you don't leave a man behind," Mr Prosser's father Darren told The Daily Telegraph.

"He's a true Aussie… he doesn't like the word hero, but he is exactly that."

"My wife has been texting him (Mr Van Baast) morning… (what has happened) has taken its toll on him."

He revealed that Mr Prosser had a long recovery ahead and couldn't remember what had happened - but had watched the video of his close call.

True Aussie hero Michael Van Baast, left, with ute driver Jacob Prosser, right.
True Aussie hero Michael Van Baast, left, with ute driver Jacob Prosser, right.

Mr Prosser said his son had told him he would not just be buying Mr Van Bast a couple of "cartons of beer" but a "couple of kegs".

"He can't remember anything, but he has seen the video," he said.

"He's very grateful."

Mr Van Baast said he saw Mr Prosser trapped inside and immediately went to help.

"I saw a small fire under the bonnett and someone trapped inside" Mr Van Baast told Prime News Wagga "I tried opening the door but it was jammed shut."

Mr Van Baast drags the stricken 22-year-old from the wreck. Picture: Prime News Wagga
Mr Van Baast drags the stricken 22-year-old from the wreck. Picture: Prime News Wagga

Dashcam footage from Mr Van Baast's car shows the ute ignite.

"Something exploded under the bonnett and I thought I've got to get this guy out now."

Disregarding his own safety, Mr Van baast smashed the driver's side window.

"At that point I saw flames in the dashboard and I thought this is not going to end well so I decided to brute force him out."

"I got a good grip on him and starting pulling him out."

Mr Prosser was unconscious as Mr Van Baast dragged him from the wreck, the ute engulfed in flames behind them.

Emergency services arrived shortly after and took Mr Prosser to hospital where he was treated for burns and a broken leg.

News Corp Australia


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