Surprise reunion between a road crash victim and the firefighter who saved him - Riverstone

Published: 13 Apr 2023 11:28am

A Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) firefighter has been surprised with a visit from a road crash victim whose life he helped save late last year.

The last time Riverstone Fire Captain David Richards saw Lee Knight, in October, the motorcyclist was moments from death on the side of the road outside the fire station in Sydney's west.

Mr Knight was riding home after a friend’s funeral when his motorcycle struck the side of a car.

He was thrown from the bike onto the roadway, suffering a broken neck, elbow, shoulder and pelvis, a collapsed lung, severe internal bleeding and a serious cut to an eye.

Captain Richards heard the impact from the station and grabbed the medical kit from the fire truck.

With Ambulance paramedics still minutes away, the firefighter was aware Mr Knight wasn’t breathing and made the life-saving decision to remove the patient’s helmet and clear his airways.

During the subsequent ambulance ride to hospital, Mr Knight’s heart was jump-started seven times with a defibrillator and doctors gave him just 48 hours to live.

He says the medical response provided by Captain Richards and his On-Call fire crew bought him valuable seconds, now leading to his amazing recovery.

Last night, Mr Lee arrived unannounced at a fire station training session last night to thank his saviour.

“Not all heroes wear capes,” Mr Knight said, “My hero wears a firefighter’s helmet.

“David cleared my airways and held my hand…he kept me alive.

“I was so lucky he was across the road when the crash happened.”

Mr Knight read the firefighters a poem he penned to thank Captain Richards.

‘The Sound of Appreciation’ How do you say thank you when words are not enough? How do you shake the hand…the same hand that reached out to me? Listening to the story of a life that’s worth living, Can it be real when it wasn’t my destiny? When tragedy is there, not to shy away, You stood tall when trouble was calling. I made my way home because you never let go, Forever in my thoughts, David Richards, a true hero.

Captain Richards says it’s terrific to see his patient has made a near-full recovery.

“It was very much a touch and go situation…if I had settled for the default position of leaving his helmet on, Lee would not be with us today,” Captain Richards said.

“I heard that terrible screech of brakes and then the impact,” he said, “It’s so pleasing to see Lee in one piece after all he’s been through.

“I’m just so glad I could help that day.”

Fire and Rescue NSW provides basic first aid training to all its firefighters as part of their commitment to “Be Prepared for Anything” and to “Protect the Irreplaceable.

Updated: 13 Apr 2023 11:33am

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Stations nearby


66 Riverstone Parade, Riverstone NSW 2765


58 Hambledon Rd, Schofields NSW 2762

BLACKTOWN Fire Station

222 Richmond Road, Woodcroft NSW 2767