A farm machinery truck driver from Lockhart is in a critical condition in St George Hospital in Sydney after he was injured in an horrific farm accident, driving himself with critical injuries for help at a farmhouse.
Dave Norton was working on a farm near Lockhart when he was attempting to load a tilt truck with a silt scoop, when the scoop slipped, slamming him in the spine, and then pushing him face first into the sharp tray of the tilt truck, according to a friend.
He had no phone reception at the scene of the accident and had to drive himself for help, holding his hat over his face to stem the bleeding. He is likely to lose one eye. Doctors are assessing if he has a spinal injury.
According to friend Sarah Levarre, whose sister was one of the first to respond to the accident, Mr Norton showed great bravery in driving until he could get mobile range on his phone to seek help at a nearby farmhouse.
He was eventually treated and flown to St George Hospital, where he is still in a critical condition.
Ms Levarre said she was astonished Mr Norton received little pain relief for his major injuries while he was being transferred from one ward to another in hospital.
“He is now in a critical condition, and may have spinal injuries, as well as losing an eye,” she said.
“He has no family or friends in Sydney to look out for him, however we were assured he was in good hands. His description of his condition was ‘[he felt like he] had been shot in the face with a gun’.
“His partner currently is in the UK visiting family and is trying to get back to Australia on the first flight, however she has been speaking with the hospital over the phone.
“This as a story about Australia’s hard working, regional farmers, truck drivers and heavy machine operators that are the true backbone of Australia.
“Truck driving, machine operations and farming is often a thankless job. Unfortunately, as he’s self employed he will not be able to work for many months as he recovers and get through physical therapy. We’re all praying that he will be able to walk again.
“Dave is a the backbone of the Lockhart community (proudly owning PO Box 1) and is a key community leader - helping many of the locals by providing them with work, housing and campaigning for local community services.”