Shy hero honoured for saving toddler
A Southland man who saved a toddler from a burning car wreck has been presented with a Royal Humane Society bronze medal in a private ceremony.
Mayor Tim Shadbolt presented shy hero Les MacIntosh with the award away from the public gaze because Mr MacIntosh did not want it done in front of the media.
It is the second award Mr MacIntosh, a truck driver for Northern Southland Transport, has received for saving the toddler; last year he was named the supreme winner at the Beaurepaires Highway Hero awards at a ceremony in Wellington.
The Royal Humane Society citation says Mr MacIntosh was travelling behind a truck-and-trailer unit about 4km south of Milton at 9.30pm on February 8 last year when the truck-and-trailer unit and a car collided.
Mr MacIntosh parked his vehicle and went straight to the badly damaged car but because of the devastating impact he was unable to confirm if anyone was inside.
As he was walking away he heard a whimper coming from inside the crumpled vehicle, the citation says.
He lifted part of the roof and saw the toddler in a car seat.
"With the engine block burning he was concerned the car may explode or become engulfed in flame . . . Mr MacIntosh removed the child from the car seat and took her away to a place of safety," the citation says.
The toddler, Abigail Coulter, was airlifted to Dunedin Hospital where she was treated for a broken arm and bruising.
Abigail's mother, Phillippa Manning, and her six-year-old sister Rebecca Coulter, from Waihola, both died at the scene.
A coroner's hearing later found that Ms Manning was believed to have been almost four times over the legal alcohol limit.
Mr Shadbolt, speaking at this week's council meeting, said Mr MacIntosh had done a magnificent job in saving the toddler.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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