Local heores praised by injured woman's family

Miracle: The assistance of two Shire of Northam employees has helped save a Bakers Hill woman's life. Photo: Shutterstock.
Miracle: The assistance of two Shire of Northam employees has helped save a Bakers Hill woman's life. Photo: Shutterstock.

A Bakers Hill man has praised two Shire of Northam staff members who stumbled upon a crash site where his wife lay seriously injured for a matter of hours.

On January 7, Sharon Hassell, a fitness instructor in her 60s, was involved in a single vehicle crash in Muresk near the intersection of Northam-York Road and Carter Road.

Reports at the time indicated that Mrs Hassell had avoided a kangaroo, resulting in her vehicle running into a tree and trapping her.

Northam and York Volunteer Fire and Resource Service crews attended the scene alongside St John Ambulance and police, where the RAC rescue helicopter was called to airlift Mrs Hassell to Royal Perth Hospital.

It was later revealed that it was only by chance that Mrs Hassell was found when she was.

Speaking to the Avon Valley and Wheatbelt Advocate, her husband Colin Hassell said if it wasn't for two Shire of Northam workers taking a different route back into town, he believed his wife may have suffered a different fate.

"Sharon hit the gravel and the car just took off," Mr Hassell said.

"She had gone down an embankment and disappeared.

"The two guys, Charlie Carr and Rodney Hayes, were working on some trees further down the way and never saw anything.

"They had driven up the top of the road to find an easier way to turn around their vehicle with a trailer.

"If they hadn't have done that they wouldn't have found her - she would have bled out. She would have died - that is not an over-exaggeration."

Emegency services believed Mrs Hassell had been trapped in her vehicle injured for an hour or more.

Mr Hassell said the impact the car had made on the natural environment was so extensive that Mr Carr and Mr Hayes went down the embankment until they came across the crash.

"One of the men stayed with Sharon supporting her and the other came up the road and called emergency services," he said.

The mother of two and grandmother of five is still recovering in Royal Perth Hospital with significant internal injuries including a ruptured bladder and spleen, collapsed lungs, head injuries, facial bruising and shattered bones in her leg.

Mr Hassell, who is the currently president of Royal Life Saving Service WA, said in his role he had met many people who had helped save lives, and Rodney and Charlie were no different.

"For the first time in my life, I truly understand the profound impact two people can have in saving a family member's life," he said.

"Thank you is completely inadequate - it is beyond words.

"Sharon and her daughters want the opportunity to meet Rodney and Charlie - you can imagine how upset our family is.

"I will make it my business to make sure these two men get recognised.

"The Shire of Northam have some amazing staff - I know, I worked there for five years.

"Rodney and Charlie are two excellent examples."

Mr Hassell said the support from the wider Perth community had helped the family process the events of the past fortnight.

"The support from within the aquatics industry and the local community has been so overwhelming," he said.

"The flood of phone calls, offers for help and hundreds of messages have been unprecedented - especially in my lifetime.

"There are some really great people out there and I feel particularly blessed for all the people who have reached out to myself and Sharon."

The Wooroloo pool manager said he was converting the downstairs of the Bakers Hill property to cater for his wife's on-going medical needs.

"Where we go to next will be interesting," he said.

"Sharon has a lot of rehabilitation ahead of her."

Shire of Northam acting chief executive Clinton Kleynhans praised the local government's employees for their efforts.

"Both Rod and Charlie have been commended for the swift action they took to assist on the day," Mr Kleynhans said.

"The Shire wishes Mrs Hassell a quick recovery and our thoughts are with the family during this time."