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Train driver heroes tracked down at last

REUNITED: Luke Thornton with his rescuers, Tracy Eglington and Paul Ryan. The train driving pair found Luke after he was involved in a serious car crash outside Chinchilla on July 15, 2016.
REUNITED: Luke Thornton with his rescuers, Tracy Eglington and Paul Ryan. The train driving pair found Luke after he was involved in a serious car crash outside Chinchilla on July 15, 2016. Contributed

AFTER a terrible car crash left Luke Thornton with no movement from the chest down, the 23-year-old and his family were really in need of some good news.

That good news was delivered on Christmas Eve with Luke and his family finally meeting the train drivers who saved his life on July 15, 2016.

Tracy Eglington and Paul Ryan made the trip to Brisbane Princess Alexandra Hospital from Toowoomba to meet the young man they had found barely alive nearly six months previously.

Luke's older sister, Jodie Thornton said she had been contacted by the pair just a few days after The Chinchilla News' story about her brother was published online.

"We all got to meet them. They were lovely people. (It) felt like we had known them for ages.

"They were so easy to talk to.

"Paul even brought Luke a beer,” Ms Thornton said.

"They sat with us and spoke for probably nearly a couple of hours.

"They had no idea he was so injured because they hadn't heard any more of him.”

Luke Thornton has been in hospital for nearly six months undergoing rehabilitation from a C6 spinal injury.
Luke Thornton has been in hospital for nearly six months undergoing rehabilitation from a C6 spinal injury. Contributed

The family heard how Ms Eglington and Mr Ryan had been on their way to Chinchilla from Miles on the night of Luke's accident when they had been flashed by a truck on the Warrego Hwy and, unsure of what lay ahead, had decided to slow down.

As they got closer, the pair spotted the lights of Luke's ute and then, the high-vis jacket Luke was wearing as he lay badly injured in the long grass after being ejected from the vehicle.

While Ms Eglington waited with the train and called for help, Mr Ryan ventured into the scrub to assist Luke.

"He said it looked like Luke was just laying there having a rest, he never expected he was so hurt,” Ms Thornton said.

"The only thing Luke did when he tried to communicate with him was open his eyes once and then close them.

"Nothing else.

"He (Mr Ryan) stayed with him until emergency services arrived and that's the last they heard of Luke,” she said.

The drivers had passed their contact details onto the emergency services but that information had somehow gotten lost along the way and never made it to the Thorntons.

"So five months down the track, Luke finally got to meet the people who, if it wasn't for them, Luke wouldn't be here today,” Ms Thornton said.

"It was lovely of them to take the time away from their families on Christmas Eve and come to Brisbane from Toowoomba and meet Luke.

"We have friended them on Facebook and they are following Luke on his recovery journey.”

Topics:  car crash chinchilla everyday hero luke thornton wandoan


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