Wednesday, 25 October 2017 08:45

Trinity saves the day

A 13-year-old Bairnsdale Secondary College student is being hailed a hero for saving her motherʼs life after the car they were travelling in rolled down an embankment on the Buchan-Orbost Road. Trinity Bennett, of Bumberrah, managed to jump out of the vehicle before it plummeted down a steep cliff face carrying her mother, Shannon, late Friday afternoon. Mrs Bennett had reportedly been executing a U-turn at the time when the vehicle slipped in gravel and became stuck on side of the embankment. As the car sat precariously on the side of the cliff face, Mrs Bennett urged her daughter to jump out. Trinity, who was closest to the steep incline, managed to scramble out of the car and clinging to tufts of grass and make her way to the roadside. With her mobile phone she dialled 000 while the vehicle, with her mother still inside, was still balancing gingerly on the edge. “Mum knew it would slide over the cliff unless she could get traction,” Trinity told the News. “She was trying to save the car, I have no idea why,” Trinity says matter-of-factly.

Trinity reveals she was actually on the phone to 000 when the car lost traction and started rolling down the steep incline. “I just started screaming,” she said, as she helplessly watched the four-wheel drive roll over before eventually coming to a standstill 100 metres below. “It would have rolled 10 to 20 times before coming to rest at the bottom. “I tried to get down without hurting myself, but have a couple of scratches on my legs from the thorns.” After reaching the smashed up vehicle, which had its bonnet crushed to the dashboard, Trinity continued to speak with 000 directing emergency services personnel to the scene. She watched in despair as the fire brigade drove past before executing a U-turn and driving back again. Trinity stood in the middle of a paddock with a stick waving her arms to attract their attention. About 13 members from the Lakes Entrance Fire Brigade attended the accident, while crews from the Morwell and Traralgon brigades were also involved in the rescue operation with specialised high angled access gear. Lakes Entrance CFA Captain, Geof Bassett, said it was fortunate “that we were able to gain access to the vehicle from the paddocks”. Captain Bassett said Mrs Bennett, who turns 39 today, was still strapped in the vehicle “with her feet protruding out the driver’s window” when emergency services arrived. The roof of the car was so crushed, “she was extremely lucky to survive”, Capt Bassett said.

“It was a fairly wild ride and she was really lucky in terms of her daughter being able to get out and call for help.” It took emergency services 45 minutes to free Mrs Bennett and after being stabilised by paramedics she was flown by air ambulance to the Alfred Hospital where she remains in a stable condition. Mrs Bennett’s left arm had been ripped from its socket and she suffered a couple of broken ribs, but Trinity told the News she is expected to make a good recovery. “She spent five hours in surgery for her arm, but doctors believe she will regain 70 per cent usage of it,” Trinity said. Trinity’s father, Andy, received news of the accident while setting up at the MotoGP at Phillip Island on Friday and quickly raced to the hospital. Police and emergency services personnel praised the actions of Trinity in having the foresight to jump from the vehicle and raise the alarm. Cpt Bassett said the vehicle would have been difficult to see from the roadside, which could have potentially delayed a rescue operation. An only child, Trinity says she is not used to all the attention, but is happy to have played her role in saving her mum’s life.