Standing on the lawn of Melbourne’s Government House, Nathan Beasy and Demi Mounsey couldn’t be prouder.
The pair was among 20 Victorians honoured for their valour at the The Royal Humane Society of Australasia’s bravery awards on Wednesday.
Mr Beasy, from Camperdown, and Ms Mounsey, from Cobden, were among the first on the scene of the fiery Jancourt East car crash in 2015, pulling a woman from the wreckage before a fire in the car took hold.
They were awarded bronze bravery medals, along with Jancourt East’s Garry Finlayson, who was unable to attend the ceremony.
Mr Beasy watched the crash unfold and fought through dense blackberries to get to the woman, staying with her until help arrived and she was pulled from the car.
While he was unsure at first whether to make the journey to Melbourne for the ceremony, especially with his five-week-old daughter in tow, Mr Beasy said friends had helped convince him it was worth the trip.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime sort of thing,” he said.
“People said what I did was pretty cool and I should go and be recognised.”
South-west heroes honoured with bravery awards
When Nathan Beasy pulled a woman from her burning car he says he was only doing what anyone else would have done.
The Camperdown man, along with Cobden’s Demi Mounsey and Jancourt East’s Garry Finlayson, saved the woman from the wreck. They will be honoured for their bravery at a ceremony at Melbourne’s Government House on Wednesday when they receive bronze bravery medals from The Royal Humane Society of Australasia.
The horror Jancourt East crash happened right before Mr Beasy’s eyes on the Cobden-Lavers Hill Road in August, 2015.
The woman was driving towards him when she failed to negotiate a bend near Gribbles Road and ran into scrub.
“She only missed me by about a car length, I slammed on my brakes and saw it in the rear-vision mirror as she ran off the road,” Mr Beasy said.
The car eventually came to rest in a tangle of blackberries.
“I don’t know how she survived it,” Mr Beasy said.
“It was a mission just to get to her through the blackberries. I was hoping for the best and that she wasn’t gone. It was a pretty grim scene when I got there.”
He managed to wrench the door open and began talking to the woman, still not sure if she was alive or dead.
“There was blood everywhere. I eventually got a moan out of her. She was in a bad way.”
All the while, Mr Beasy was trying to call emergency services, but the calls couldn’t connect, so he headed back onto the road to flag down a passing vehicle.
More people arrived on the scene, including Ms Mounsey and Mr Finlayson.
By this time, the car had started smoking, and soon flames were coming up through the bonnet. The rescuers had been reluctant to move the woman, not knowing the extent of her injuries, but as the fire took hold it became a matter of life or death.
“In the end I said I wasn’t leaving her,” Mr Beasy said.
With the help of Ms Mounsey and Mr Finlayson, the woman was lifted free. This took two to three minutes, and by then the flames were inside the cabin.
The woman’s dog was also in the vehicle. It fled in fear but was found the next day.
Two years on, Mr Beasy remains a reluctant hero and was unsure at first whether he would attend the Melbourne ceremony.
“I was just doing what anyone else would do for you, or at least what you’d hope they’d do,” he said.
“But a few people have said that what I did was pretty cool.”