'You saved his life': Buddina crash survivor thanks saviours
TEN weeks after the horror car crash that nearly killed him, 19-year-old Josh Harrison has returned to the site and thanked local residents who were first on the scene.
Jeff Le Marseny, a local surf lifesaver, was among a handful of locals whose quick thinking and first-aid training saved his life in the minutes before paramedics arrived, Josh's mum Debbie White says.
When Mr Le Marseny helped lift Josh into an ambulance on the night of the crash, he thought he'd never see him again, he said.
But two weeks ago Josh came to the café Jeff and his wife Dani own, One on La Balsa, to say thanks.
"When I saw him the other day I felt...it was a miracle that he was able to walk up the stairs of that shop and talk to me just as though not much has happened to him," he said.
"His mum said to me on the day, 'oh you saved his life'."
But Mr Le Marseny said he was one of many people who did all they could to help the "boys", after the ute they were in smashed into trees on Pacific Boulevard on January 6.
It's why he thinks every person should do first-aid training, he said.
"There were a hell of a lot of people who were involved in the situation, from the people who were there a couple of minutes before me to ambulance, fire and rescue, helicopter service and the doctors," he said.
"Whatever they've done to stabilise him and get him on the way to recovery is a miracle, I believe."
Mrs White didn't find out what happened to her son until he was already at Royal Brisbane Hospital. When she arrived at hospital with Josh's sister Hope and stepdad Deon, Josh was undergoing emergency surgery.
Medics, helicopter rescue personnel and strangers who donated everything from cash to cake are among those she said played "an important role in saving Joshua's life. Just major".
In a bizarre twist of fate, Debbie and other members of her family had volunteered for RACQ CareFlight (now LifeFlight) - the service that raced Josh to Brisbane - for five years prior to the crash.
"It's something you don't think will ever happen to your children or family - and we volunteered over the years knowing that it was saving lives - but never in a million years did we think they'd be picking up Joshua."
Buddina resident Mr Le Marseny lives around the corner from the crash site on Pacific Boulevard, and was among a handful of Buddina residents who raced to the scene to help Josh and his mate Bailey Sibraa, who died at the scene.
Asked what the scene looked like, he said: "It's really something that I wouldn't want printed because it's like...to see a motor vehicle with 19-year-old kids in it, of course it's traumatic.
"It's traumatic for everyone. The ambulance services - they have to deal with it every day."
A Facebook page maintained by Josh's aunt, Angela Miles, provided daily updates on his recovery for the first 50 days, with posts attracting more than 300,000 views.
"It's been overwhelming for all of us and mind-blowing - the amount of people that have followed, supported, and given positive thoughts and contributed financially including for our accommodation," Mrs White said.
Josh returned to his family home again on the weekend, and while his recovery is progressing well he's on alert for seizures after experiencing muscle spasms that suggest his brain is "not firing properly", Mrs White said.
A seizure could be very dangerous in his condition, she agreed, as Josh is still missing a section of skull bone that would protect his brain. Any shock to this part of his body could have severe consequences.
A crowdfunding campaign has already raised more than $4000 toward a therapeutic bed and pillow to help Josh "give his body needs", Mrs White said. It was delivered on Friday.
To donate toward Josh's recovery visit mycause.com.au and search "Joshie - Road to Recovery".