News

‘You can’t leave him to burn’: Humble hero’s defining moment

Robert Skewes, from Tin Can Bay, and Palmwoods' David Holmes recieved Royal Humane Society of Australasia bravery awards on July 29, 2015. They saved the life of a Brisbane truck driver when his vehicle burst into flames following an accident on the Bruce Highway, Sippy Downs, on August 29, 2011. Photo Sherele Moody / APN NewsDesk
Robert Skewes, from Tin Can Bay, and Palmwoods' David Holmes recieved Royal Humane Society of Australasia bravery awards on July 29, 2015. They saved the life of a Brisbane truck driver when his vehicle burst into flames following an accident on the Bruce Highway, Sippy Downs, on August 29, 2011. Photo Sherele Moody / APN NewsDesk Sherele Moody

LIFESAVERS don't come more humble than Robert Skewes.

So facing the glare of TV cameras and strangers at the Royal Humane Society of Australasia's bravery awards in the Brisbane Town Hall on Wednesday was no easy task for the 54-year-old fisherman from Tin Can Bay.

"It's very humbling - it's nothing that I expected," he says of the award and having to step into the spotlight four years after risking his own life to save that of a stranger.

On August 29, 2011, Mr Skewes pulled a driver from his burning tanker after it jack-knifed on the Bruce Hwy at Sippy Downs.

Another driver, David Holmes, helped drag Brisbane father Jason Bowditch to safety and both applied first aid to the victim who spent a few days in hospital after the crash.

"I heard this guy screaming and I just ran down and pulled him out," Mr Skewes says of his selfless act.

"You can't leave him there to burn so you've got to try to do something."

Shortly after saving Mr Bowditch, Mr Skewes had an epiphany.

He swapped driving trucks for a much more laid-back career.

These days he can be found sailing around the ocean off Gympie, casting a line for a living.

"After that truck accident I woke up in bed one morning and went 'That's it, I'm not driving trucks ever again'," he said.

"You don't think about the decisions you make every day on the highway.

"You just get in and turn the ignition on and go.

"You don't even give it a second thought.

"When something like that (the accident) happens you stop and you think 'Wow, this could just happen to any of us'." - APN NEWSDESK

Big Rigs

Topics:  bravery award hero sunshine coast transport truck driver truckie


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.