TWO truck drivers first on the scene at a massive Charleville bridge explosion have been given Star of Courage awards for rescuing the driver of a burning dangerous goods truck loaded with more than 50 tonnes of ammonium nitrate.
On the evening of 5 Semptember, 2014, a B-double Kenworth carrying a highly explosive load crashed off the Angellala Creek Bridge on the Mitchell Highway and burst into flames.
Raging 10 metre high flames and a black smoke plume could be seen 30 kilometres out of Charleville and the sonic waves from the explosions were described as a kick in the chest from hundreds of metres away.
Passing truckies Timothy Bunyen and Jimmy Bateman spotted the accident and noticed the cabin of the overturned truck was on fire and beginning to melt.
The brave pair dragged the driver of the overturned truck, Tony Eden, to safety after finding him on the side of the road where he'd somehow managed to crawl.
It was a miracle that Tony was alive, and Timothy and Jimmy have told media since that you could smell the burning flesh from where his arms and legs were alight, and his neck was broken and had large amounts of skin hanging off.
Despite being well aware of the risk of further explosions, the two truckies stepped up and gave first aid to the injured truck driver, and they also comforted him through the ordeal.
Tony managed to pull through, suffering half a dozen broken bones and a third of his skin burnt off.
In addition to the awards given to the two truck drivers, there were four Commendation for Brave Conduct awards, two Bravery Medals, and also a Group Bravery Citation that included the existing awardees.
Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove recognised the efforts of the awardees at today's Australian Bravery Awards.
"To the Australians being honoured today, I offer my warmest congratulations and express my sincere gratitude for your contribution to our nation," the Governor-General said.
"We are fortunate as a community to have so many outstanding people willing to put themselves in harm's way to assist others in need, and it is only fitting that they have today been recognised through the Australian Honours system."
Group Bravery Citation awardees:
Mr Jimmy Wayne BATEMAN - (also received Star of Courage Award)
Mr Timothy John BUNYEN - (also received Star of Courage Award)
Constable Logan Tristan De COSTA - (Also received Commendation for Brave Conduct)
Senior Constable Mark Patrick EVERITT - (Also received Bravery Medal)
Mr John Norman GILBERT - (Also received Commendation for Brave Conduct)
Mr Peter Robert HACKWOOD
Mr Michael Bradley HADJ - (Also received Bravery Medal)
Senior Constable Kenric Robert HEAD
Inspector Stephen Edwin KERSLEY
Mr Clinten Thomas McCARTHY
Senior Constable Juliet Heather McGRATH
Senior Sergeant Adrian Paul RIECK - (Also received Commendation for Brave Conduct)
Mr Jake Paul SULLIVAN
Mr Nathan James THOMPSON
Mr Liam Colin WALSH - (Also received Commendation for Brave Conduct)