A CAMPER suffered severe burns to his body after a gas cylinder hose exploded at a campsite near Rutherglen.
The Essendon man, 52, was camping with several others on Saturday at the site on Brimin Road, off the Murray Valley Highway between Rutherglen and Bundalong.
The incident occurred some time after 9am.
Police said the man was cooking over a small portable cooker when the hose split, sparking flames.
The man was burnt to both arms, both sides of his face and his airway; the injuries the equivalent of 9 per cent of his total body.
Another camper crawled across the ground to flick off the gas before the flames could spread.
Other campers picked up the man and put him in the Murray River to cool the burns until paramedics arrived.
Wodonga Sgt Wal Larkin said firefighter crews also attended the scene but they were not needed.
“In this situation it looks like the quick actions of the witnesses prevented a fire from starting,” he said.
“His injuries are not life-threatening but his airway has been compromised, which was of concern.”
The man was airlifted to a Melbourne hospital and is in a serious but stable condition.
Meanwhile, Wodonga CFA members were yesterday called out to a gas leak from a cylinder in a car in Lawrence Street about 4pm.
Sgt Larkin reminded anyone using gas bottles to take the appropriate safety precautions.
They should make sure all fittings are correct and up-to-date.
“There is always the potential for this kind of thing to happen,” he said.