PHILIP Colee is astounded his son Scott walked away after a train crushed the car in which he was getting a lift to Wodonga.
The Howlong builder was working when he got a phone call from police on Monday about 12.30pm.
“I was in shock,” he said yesterday.
“When the police said Scott wasn’t injured I said ‘well, that couldn’t be’ because if you take on a train you usually come off second best.”
Scott Colee, a 35-year-old carpenter, also from Howlong, was getting a lift with his good mate Christine Griffin, who was trapped behind the driver’s wheel after the crash.
Ms Griffin, 26, suffered serious leg and pelvic injuries when her car collided with the Albury-bound V/Line train at the Old Barnawartha Road crossing about 11.30am.
Her car was dragged for 500 metres before the train finally came to a halt.
It took rescuers about 90 minutes to free her, and another hour before she could be safely moved to a waiting Air Ambulance Victoria helicopter to take her to The Alfred hospital in Melbourne.
The Barnawartha woman’s family yesterday thanked her rescuers for getting her out alive.
“I just got off the phone from her father who says she’s certainly doing remarkably well considering the horrific collision,” police investigator Leading Sen-Constable Raquel Vogel said yesterday afternoon.
“He obviously has passed on his appreciation to the emergency personnel for all their efforts in extracting his daughter.”
After the shocking news sunk in after the police call, Mr Colee went straight to the crash scene.
“Scott was pretty traumatised and so we sat him down and sat him in the police car and afterwards the ambulance guys checked him over and took him to hospital,” he said.
Mr Colee was finding it hard yesterday to come to terms with how Scott survived.
“I feel very fortunate,” he said.
“I couldn’t speak highly enough of the police, the fire brigade and everyone who was there.
“It was tremendous for everyone to help both him and Christine and what they did for them.
“They were really great.”
About three hours after getting Scott home on Monday, Mr Colee took his son back to hospital to confirm he had no broken bones.
“We brought him home and then he got a hematoma in his leg and that’s now all blown up,” he said.
“He’s just been taken back to hospital after lunchtime today.
“Once a blood clot goes above the knee you’ve got to go and get it seen to. He’s in the Albury Base Hospital.”
Ms Griffin was heading into Wodonga to check out a job opportunity, while Scott had to get some medicine from a chemist.
Mr Colee was at great pains to thank everyone involved in the rescue effort.
“Scott’s going to be OK and I hope Christine will be OK, too.”