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Army March 29, 2012
Cpl Melanie Schinkel
THREE soldiers from 7RAR played a
crucial role in saving a seriously injured
man's life after he crashed into a tree
near RAAF Base Edinburgh on February
26. Pte Brett Caldwell, of C Coy, was
driving home from work on West Avenue
about 8.30am when he saw the car crash.
The 23-year-old rifleman pulled over to
investigate and said that by the time he
reached the crash site, two male civilians
and one female civilian had pulled the
casualty out of the vehicle.
"They had no medical training and
no idea what to do so I stepped in and
performed basic first aid on the casualty,
who was unconscious and pretty messed
up," Pte Caldwell said.
"He was breathing but had a faint
pulse. My initial reaction was to clear
his airway, follow the DRABC [danger,
respond, airway, breathing, circulation)
steps and put him in the recovery position."
As Pte Caldwell continued first aid on
the casualty, Sgt Chris Barry, who was
the battalion duty officer at the time, had
been informed and was on his way to the
accident site with combat first aider Pte
"When I arrived at the scene the car
was hard up against a tree and the casual-
ty was on the ground in the recovery posi-
tion receiving first aid," Sgt Barry said.
"Pte Bates immediately took over
first aid of the casualty, who had stopped
breathing and gone into cardiac arrest.
Together, Ptes Bates and Caldwell and
the civilians conducted CPR and contin-
ued to do so for about 20 minutes until
the ambulance arrived.
"Upon arrival the paramedics received
a detailed handover from Pte Bates. They
immediately had to use a defibrillator to
get the casualty's heart beating again. At
this stage the police had also arrived and
were recording witness statements."
Sgt Barry said he was extremely
proud of the soldiers' actions in respond-
ing to the incident.
Looking back on that morning, Pte
Caldwell said he didn't need any praise
for what he did.
"I don't feel I did anything special
in helping that bloke out. I just did what
I hope anyone would do in that situa-
tion. If someone was in trouble and you
had the appropriate training to help, you
would be a pretty low person if you kept
driving," Pte Caldwell said.
At time of print, Lyell McEwin
Hospital was unable to disclose informa-
tion regarding the casualty's condition.
SA soldier saves
car crash victim
Put to good use: Pte Brent Caldwell, of 7RAR, drew on his Army first aid training
to help a man seriously injured in a car crash.
File photo by Cpl Melina Mancuso
Cpl Max Bree
HIS grandfather served with the
2/4th Commando Squadron in
New Guinea during World War
II, but it was the current opera-
tions that had SCdt Dane Andrews'
mother worried when he joined up.
"Mum was quite reluctant," SCdt
Andrews said. "She thought I was
going to be in Afghanistan the next
It was the idea of a challenging
job with good career progression
which drove him to start officer
training at Duntroon early last year.
"Instead of sitting back and say-
ing I'm going to do things, I actually
And SCdt Andrews got his
chance while holidaying with his
fiancée and her grandparents at
Yamba on the NSW North Coast
"I was asleep on the beach and
this lady came up and said 'can any-
"I started waking up and I was
thinking 'I don't want to get into a
swimming race with someone'."
It would turn out to be a race of
life and death, when SCdt Andrews
discovered a mother and her child
had been caught in a rip and swept
out to sea.
The mother dived into the water
when she saw her child in distress
but soon both were swept away.
"If you don't know what to do
(in a rip) you just struggle against it.
And she really didn't know what she
SCdt Andrews grabbed a nearby
body-board and headed quickly into
He paddled out through a 1.5m
swell and found the mother desper-
ately trying to keep her son above
"She had that hysterical expres-
sion that seemed to say 'I'm just
trying to survive'," he said.
With the boy on his shoulders
and the mother holding onto the
board he brought the pair back to
"The boy seemed okay but
when we were back into about one
foot of water she (the mother) still
Looking for a
chance to act
Staff cadet joined to take action and found it while on holiday
"We eventually sat her down
on the beach, made sure she hadn't
swallowed too much water and
made sure everything was alright."
"Then I got a high-five from the
family and walked away."
But in the small community of
Yamba, news of the dramatic rescue
"When we went out for dinner
that night, everyone in the restaurant
knew about it."
However, SCdt Andrews' fian-
cée soon got tired of his new-found
fame. "She thought it was pretty
cool at first but when everyone was
giving me high-fives around town
she thought it was a bit much."
SCdt Andrews is due to finish
RMC in June and is hoping to be
allocated to the Royal Australian
"I like to pride myself on being
the guy who actually goes in and
helps people, rather than being with
everyone else standing around."
First to act: SCdt Dane Andrews raced into the surf at Yamba to
rescue a mother and child who were caught in a rip.
Photo by Cpl Max Bree
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