Patient Story -

Man airlifted after gas bottle explodes

When John Dallon offered to make his mate a gas camping cooker, he never thought the kind gesture would nearly take his life. 

John now faces a lengthy battle with serious burns after the gas bottle he cut open exploded, setting him on fire.

John recalls the morning of the accident at his Hendon property.

 

 

“I’d promised my mate I’d make him a gas cooker because he admired mine last time we were camping and asked me if I’d make him one too. Since I’d made a few before I said of course.

“I made sure it was all safe and the valve was open before I cut into it. Little did I know the gas bottle was from the tip and must have been faulty.

"As I cut into it, I saw an almighty flash and heard a deafening sound louder than an F111 engine. At the same time I felt this extreme wave of heat rip through me as I jumped back.

“The gas bottle then rolled towards me and continued to chase me, burning up my legs.

“I looked down and all of my clothes were on fire so I started frantically ripping them off. I ran over to the water tank and started dousing myself with cold water.

“At that point, my wife Faye ran out to see what all the commotion was and saw that I was in serious trouble so she called the Clifton ambulance station.

“They took one look at me and knew immediately that CareFlight was needed.”

“Even though I was in excruciating pain, I felt relief knowing that CareFlight was coming because it meant that I would be in hospital much sooner.

“And they were there in what felt like minutes – although it was probably much longer.

“The chopper landed in my neighbour’s driveway. I didn’t think it could even get that close, I thought at best it might land in a nearby paddock.

“I always see the blue and yellow chopper going over our property but I just used to think they were taking people in between hospitals, I didn’t really understand that they could land at your house in an emergency situation.

“I was conscious the whole time throughout the airlift and I remember thinking that I’d be in hospital in less than forty minutes, as opposed to over two and a half hours by ambulance. That was a huge relief.”

John was airlifted to the Royal Brisbane Hospital where he spent seven days in ICU and a further 14 days in the burns unit. Although he now has to wear a pressure suit for at least another one or two years, he knows how lucky he was to have CareFlight there that day.

“I’m lucky I have a good immune system and a good up-and-go attitude,” he said.

“But if anyone asks me about my accident I just tell them to take a couple of minutes and think; in just a split second, your whole life could change. It could be your son, daughter, brother or father in an accident and you would definitely want CareFlight to be there for them.

“I have donated to CareFlight before but never did I think that we would ever use it at home,” he said.

John was so grateful to the team who saved his life that he recently visited the Toowoomba Base to thank the crew on duty that day. He dropped off a carton of beer and some soft drink to say thanks to Doctor Peter Miller, Paramedic Anthony Clark, Pilot Don Fillingame and Crewman Bradd Shelton.

“It would be such a loss if we were ever to lose this service. My accident and rescue has changed my whole perspective and we’ll be doing everything we can to keep the choppers in the air,” he said.