THE ROYAL HUMANE SOCIETY OF AUSTRALASIA,PRESENTATION OF THE 2016 CLARKE GOLD MEDAL
The Clarke Gold Medal is an award of The Royal Humane Society of Australasia. It is the Society’s highest award for the most outstanding case of bravery considered during the year. The 2016 Clarke
Gold Medal will be presented by His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia to:
Mr Timothy John Bunyan
who went to the rescue of a truck driver from a crashed and burning truck and subsequent explosion of ammonium nitrate at Charleville, Qld on 5 September 2014..
Media opportunities: Photos/vision of the presentation of the Clarke Gold Medal. Mr Bunyan will also be available for interview after the presentation.
THE ROYAL HUMANE SOCIETY OF AUSTRALASIA
2016 CLARKE GOLD MEDAL
TIMOTHY JOHN BUNYAN
Truck driver, aged 57 years, of Peak Hill, NSW
in going to the rescue of a truck driver from a crashed and burning truck and subsequent explosion of ammonium nitrate at Charleville, Qld on 5 September 2014.
At 9.10pm a semi-trailer carrying more than 50 tonnes of ammonium nitrate crashed off the Mitchell Highway at the Angellala Creek Bridge and caught fire. The sole occupant of the truck extricated
himself from the burning wreckage and crawled up onto the bridge where he stayed until assistance arrived.
Mr Bunyan was driving a truck to Charleville when he came upon the crashed truck. He stopped his truck 200-300m away from the bridge and ran to the scene. Mr Bunyan stayed with the injured truck
driver and saw that the cab of the truck was well alight and the flames were about 6-10m high.
About 15-30 minutes later another truck driver stopped to help.
Sometime later both men saw two fire trucks approaching which were manned by four fire fighters. The injured truck driver told the fire fighters that he had been towing ammonium nitrate and that
an explosion was highly likely to occur. The fire fighters recognised their greatest priority was to protect all those on site by immediately evacuating them from the danger zone. As they started to
organise the evacuation a large explosion occurred following about 60 seconds later by yet another larger explosion.
All seven people within the immediate scene were injured. The explosion also resulted in extreme damage to the two QFES fire vehicles, completely destroyed the semi-trailer truck carrying the
ammonium nitrate, the rail bridge, the road bridge and the surrounding environment with debris deposited some distance from the explosion site.
Numerous police and ambulance officers arrived on the scene to help evacuate all those involved in the incident. They saw Mr Bunyan at the crash site with the driver of the semi-trailer who was
lying on the ground in a foetal position. Mr Bunyan and the driver of the semi-trailer were then evacuated to hospital.
During the rescue smoke came from the creek bed due to the remnants of ammonium nitrate prills mingled amongst loose dirt. This uncombusted material was still burning and therefore there was the
possibility of further explosions.
All those at the site when the explosion occurred including Mr Bunyan required hospital treatment for lacerations, burns and deafness due to the pressure of the explosion.
(Please note that the other truck driver who stopped to help has been awarded the Gold Medal of The Royal Humane Society of Australasia).