Heroes save couple from burning car seconds before it exploded

OUR HEROES: John and Paul are pictured with Joanne and Caitlin.
OUR HEROES: John and Paul are pictured with Joanne and Caitlin.

TWO courageous men who saved the lives of occupants of a burning car seconds before it exploded have been nominated for a bravery award.

John Whiteford (47) and Paul Surgeon (22) came to the rescue after witnessing the accident on the Twechar to Kilsyth road on May 18.

A car had left the road and smashed into a tree, before bursting into flames.

John, from Torrance, and Paul, from Kirkintilloch, first rescued 18-year-old Caitlin McKinlay, from Kilsyth, who had suffered injuries to her back, neck and legs.

Still in the car was Gary Grant (26), from Kirkintilloch.

Joanne McCormack (18), from Kilsyth, had managed to get out of the car, but was shocked and confused.

Initially the rescuers were unable to get Gary out from the back seat of the car.

John said: “The fire had started before I got to the car and two people were trapped inside.

“I ripped the front seat out of the car and we were able to get the big fella clear.

“The car blew 15 seconds later.”

John has no idea how he managed to tear a car seat free of its moorings, and he badly injured his back in the process. But he was determined not to let Gary die.

He said: “I’d been in a fire before and thought ‘I’m not letting him burn’.”

Sadly, Gary did not escape the accident unscathed and has been left paralysed from the chest down.

Caitlin’s injuries were severe enough for her to need a spinal brace, but she should soon be free of it.

Caitlin has nominated Paul and John in the Pride of Britain Awards.

Paul said: “I feel honoured to know I helped save lives.

“It was an instinctive response to the situation by me and John. I certainly couldn’t have got Gary out alone.”

For more information on the Pride of Britain Awards go to: www.prideofbritain.com

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