12-Year-Old Boy Was Forced To Drive Through Raging Bushfire To Save Himself And His Dog
This is insane
A 12-year-old Western Australian boy has been reunited with his family after being forced to flee his home by himself by packing his dog into a manual ute and jumping behind the wheel.
While the boy's father Ivan Sturrock and older brother Dale were out fighting the fire near the small town of Mogumber, about 120km north-east of Perth, Lucas Sturrock was at home alone when the blaze began to get closer.
He had been instructed to head to an orange tree about 4km up the road if the fire got too close.
The 12-year-old made an executive decision to take action. He grabbed his dog and jumped in his big brother's manual Ford Ranger and drove off.
However, as his father explained to ABC Radio, by the time he got to the orange tree, the fire was already on the other side of the road, so Lucas was forced to find safety elsewhere.
A short time later, Luke's brother and dad arrived back to the property and were unable to find him. They were concerned for his safety and issued a missing person report.
An alert was radioed to units in the area and about half an hour later Lucas was found driving through nearby paddocks trying to escape other close fires.
"We were lucky that ... about an hour after, we were patrolling the northern flank and came across Lucas pulled up in his ute," Bindoon Bushfire Brigade's Craig Spencer told ABC Radio.
"He was a very scared young fella.
"Typical farm boy, he was pretty clever, I think the problem was he just didn't quite know where to go and it was hard to see with all the smoke.
"So I think he probably panicked a bit and when we found him he was pulled up on the side of the road and didn't quite know where to go."
Lucas's dad said his son had been taught to drive at the age of seven, just in case of such an emergency.
"I was quite proud of him, he did exactly what we told him to do," he father said.
Dalwallinu Police Sergeant Michael Daley, who reunited Lucas with his dad, said although police did not condone children driving, the incident did highlight the effectiveness of having a bushfire plan.
Listen here for the full story: