How routine turned to desperate rescue for Army
A TRAINEE Army pilot has described the moment she spotted a burning vehicle on a routine training mission overnight.
Officer Cadet Ingrid Dylan, 29, and Captain Gary Hamilton were on a night-vision goggles sortie exercise in the skies over Cooyar about 6.45pm yesterday.
It was one of Officer Cadet Dylan's final training missions before her graduation next week and while she is now being regarded as a hero, she credits her actions during last night's rescue as simply training.
Through night-vision goggles, the aspiring Australian Army pilot and Capt. Hamilton went into action immediately, landing the Kiowa helicopter in a nearby field and rushing to aid the 85-year-old man found hanging out the passenger side of the vehicle which was engulfed in flames.
As Capt. Hamilton radioed in for back-up, the first-aid trained officer cadet acted on instinct, first pulling the injured but conscious man from the ruins.
"It was definitely more instinct when you see someone that needs assistance, you just jump in and do the best you can," she said.
"We saw the fire, took a closer look and saw that it was a vehicle.
"Once we identified that there was a casualty involved, we decided to land as closely as possible.
"I approached it with a lot of caution and not having any idea of what I would find.
"Once I noticed the casualty needed a great deal of assistance, that's all I could do from that point."
Officer Cadet Dylan is humble about her actions.
Without fear or hesitation, she pulled the man from the vehicle and to safety across the road, putting out small fires and keeping the conscious man away from the flames.
"He was conscious and as soon as I dragged him free across the road and far enough away from the fire, I was able to communicate with him quite freely," she said.
"Although he was in considerable pain, he was coherent and responsive.
"I was asking him his name and more importantly whether there were more passengers in the vehicle with him.
"I just tried to get as many details as possible to pass on to my instructor."
Her efforts, she said, was just her training put into dramatic action.
One of eight in the training class, Officer Cadet Dylan said her course mates had been trained "for exactly these situations".
"In hindsight it was a very interesting situation and I was just glad to be able to be there at the time and render assistance," she said.
"It's very flattering (being called a hero).
"I don't actually consider myself as such.
"I know for a fact that if any of my course mates had done that navigation route they would have done the same thing."