Crash victim voices gratitude from hospital bed

Misha Deventer – with a photo of his girlfriend Linda Van Impelen – is in Lismore Base Hospital while his girlfriend is recovering in Brisbane.
Misha Deventer – with a photo of his girlfriend Linda Van Impelen – is in Lismore Base Hospital while his girlfriend is recovering in Brisbane. David Nielsen
LAYING in his hospital bed yesterday, Dutch tourist and motor accident victim Misha Deventer has one thing to say to Lismore’s emergency workers and health staff – thank you.

It’s been a tense two weeks since 30-year-old Mr Deventer and his 23-year-old girlfriend Linda Van Impelen were cut out of the wreckage of their rented Kombi outside Nimbin.

“I thought we were going to die,” Mr Deventer said yesterday. “We were in the middle of nowhere for two hours before we were found.”

Mr Deventer contacted The Northern Star and asked to tell the story of what he calls the extraordinary lengths police, firefighters, doctors and nurses went to save both his and Ms Van Impelen’s lives.

“They have done everything for us. This interview is the only thing I can think of to do. I want to say thank you to everyone,” he said.

It was supposed to be the perfect holiday. Ms Van Impelen had been working for five months at a tourist resort in Cairns when Mr Deventer arrived just after Christmas for a five-week road trip along the east coast.

On January 22, as the couple looked for waterfalls, the Kombi drifted to the wrong side of the road and was hit head-on on Gungas Road.

“I don’t remember anything. I woke up and the engine was stuck on my legs and I looked over to my girlfriend and she was rolling around like a ballerina. I was sure we were going to die.”

“My leg was broken and the veins were cut. The doctors told me I may lose my leg, but I was lucky and I had an emergency operation and they saved it.”

It doesn’t appear Ms Van Impelen was so lucky; it’s not yet known if she’ll walk again.

“The doctors give her a five per cent chance of walking again, but she says she is just glad to be alive,” he said. “If she had had her feet on the floor rather than the dashboard then the crash would have cut her legs off and she would have bled to death.”

Ms Van Impelen’s injuries were so severe that she was flown to Brisbane for treatment.

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