'I was pinned in five places:' Crushed by two tonnes
AS MORE than two tonnes of heavy machinery crushes his body, thousands of thoughts flood Robert Barton's mind.
Best case scenario? His leg will be amputated.
He is a logical man so he's already made peace with that.
It's the worst possible outcome he is worried about. Death.
It took mere seconds for Robert's tractor to accidentally roll while driving around his Calvert property just outside Rosewood but it would take much longer before anyone would come to help.
He was trapped for hours.
Robert's wife had watched the horror unfold as she followed him on a quad bike on the Sunday before last.
She saw as the tractor rolled on top of her husband and rushed over to help as the immense weight of the machine crushed him.
But she could do nothing. Neither of them could.
He was pinned down.
After finding reception, she called the emergency services who rushed to the scene.
What they did next, Robert says, saved not only his leg, but his life.
"I was pinned in five different places and one of my legs was crushed," he said.
"It was being pushed down into mud. I had the steering wheel pushing into my stomach, the metal seat pinning my right ribs and hip and the metal wheel guard pressing into my side.
"Every time I tried to move it hurt and that's why it was such a complex operation."
Emergency services had to move quickly but carefully.
"I was in a lot of pain," Robert recalled.
"I lost total feeling in my left leg. I had written it off.
"But the emergency services didn't panic and that's what impressed me so much. It was a complicated operation and nothing fazed them.
"They used an air lifting device and bit by bit moved the tractor to a different location. Until you see it in action you don't understand how highly trained they are."
After two and a half hours of being trapped under his tractor, Robert was finally freed before being rushed to hospital by the Careflight helicopter for further treatment.
This week he met with those first responders who helped get him out of the life threatening situation.
"If the paramedics and firefighters hadn't done their job as well as they did I am certain I would have lost my leg or my life," he said. "I feel like they don't get enough recognition and I wish more people understood just how professional and well trained they are.
"It was because of the good work of the paramedics and firefighters that I got out of it with a broken arm and a bruised ankle and I want to thank them for that."
Robert has since been banned from the tractor and is spending time recovering.
How the emergency services crew saved his life
IN HIS 24 years as a firefighter, Lieutenant Pat Cole has only seen one other accident of this kind.
The auxiliary firefighter was one of the first on the scene of a tractor rollover which could have cost the victim his life.
And the victim was no stranger to Mr Cole - it was a man he'd known for years, Robert Barton.
Mr Cole said he realised the situation was serious as soon as he arrived.
"He was very stuck under there" he said.
"Being the officer in charge you look at how he's trapped and things go through your head about how to get him out."
The firefighters arrived just after the paramedics and they worked together to free Mr Barton.
"We were using airbags to get him out, they'll fit into a 30mm space but we had to use the claw of a hammer to dig them in," Mr Cole said.
As the tractor crushed Mr Barton, his team quickly and efficiently worked to free him, slowly raising the tractor with airbags while taking care not to further injure the man underneath.
It took more than two and a half hours.
"We lifted it out enough that he could wriggle himself out," Mr Cole said.