Netball association's praise for volunteers after accident at Bellingara courts

The quick-thinking, skiled work of those who came to the aid of a couple who were seriously injured in an accident at Bellingara netball courts has been described as “phenomenal”.

Off-duty emergency services officers, a doctor, nurse and other spectators at games on Saturday were involved in the team effort.

About 10 men lifted and moved the four-wheel-drive vehicle to release the woman, allowing medical assistance to be given to her and her husband.

“These people were there within seconds, and the work they did was phenomenal,” Sutherland Shire Netball Association president Karen Salter said.

“It showed their wonderful abilities and how, as a community, we can all pull together when needed.” 

The couple, a woman, 61, and a man, 65, remained in a stable condition in St George Hospital on Monday.

They were at the Miranda courts to watch their granddaughter play when they were hit by the reversing vehicle.

The driver, a woman, 73, who was also there to watch a family member, is believed to have hit the accelerator instead of the brake.

The woman accident victim, who was pinned against a fence, was critically injured and her husband suffered serious injuries.

The netball association said on its Facebook page the couple’s family had reported they were “doing well, and are receiving great care from the hospital”.

“One of the victims injuries will require a longer recovery period but both are in good spirits,” the association said.

“We will continue to keep them both and their extended families in our thoughts and prayers.”

The president of the club with which the injured couple are associated said in a message to members, “While they have multiple injuries they are expected to make a full recovery.”

The club, on behalf of their family, expressed gratitude to all those involved in helping at the scene of the accident.

“The response from so many people exemplifies how much the netball family of the shire care for each other,” the club president said

Mrs Salter, on behalf of the association, thanked all the volunteers who assisted.

“I think the way they performed their tasks prior to the arrival of the emergency services teams assisted in the outcome,” she said.

“The eight to 10 men who assisted in lifting the car were led by an off-duty firefighter and off-duty police officer,” she said.

“We also had off-duty paramedics, nurse and doctor and our own on-duty physiotherapist.”

Mrs Salter said the doctor was watching a game on a lower court when she heard a request for assistance over the loudspeaker.

The announcement led others with medical expertise also to volunteer.

Mrs Salter said it was too early to say whether changes needed to be made to car park safety.

“We have been talking to the council and it will be up to their traffic management people, once they have received the police report, to look at all the safety issues,” she said.

Mrs Salter said it was unfortunate that some  social media information, which was “rampant” after the accident, was incorrect.

”We made the decision to funnel all information from the member club [to which the accident victims were connected] through the association and our Facebook page,” she said.

“The member club was in continual contact with the family, and maintaining the flow of information in this way was more respectful.”

Mrs Salter said there was deep concern within the close-knit netball community.

“A lot of our members played here when they were young and have come back with their children,” she said.

“We are also very aware there may be some people who may need some additional support, and we are organising for a counsellor to be available for anyone who may need that help.

“Information is going out to the clubs.”

Earlier report: