A trucker who dragged a fellow lorry driver from his burning and exploding crashed cab has told of the moment he sprang into action on a motorway.
Mark Hancock came across the horrific aftermath of a motorway crash and was alerted by a plume of black smoke pouring from a lorry which had careered off the carriageway and down a steep embankment.
The articulated lorry had gone off the road and plunged down an embankment, with the cab ripped away from the vehicle as the driver was still inside. The cab came to a rest just feet from a canal, as the cargo of fertilizer erupted into an intense fire nearby.
Despite the risk, Mr Hancock, of Steeton, led rescue efforts after spotting the driver’s hand emerge from a window following the crash, where the M62 and M180 motorways merge in East Yorkshire.
He was able to haul the casualty through a window in the cab as part of the cargo exploded just feet away.
Other motorists then assisted to carry the injured man away from the danger.
The driver, who works for Halifax based heavy haulage firm Collett, told the Telegraph & Argus: “As I came off the M62 I could see a cloud of black smoke. I stopped my vehicle and looked down. I couldn’t believe what I saw.
“Everything was on fire except the cab which was detached. I thought no way was anyone going to survive that but then suddenly I saw a hand come out of the window.
“I rushed across the motorway and down the embankment.
“I saw the driver – he was lying across the cab. He was shouting at me, ‘Get me out of here, get me out of here’. I think he could feel the heat and was worried that he was going to burn.
“You could really feel the heat by now.
“He was a really big bloke. I couldn’t have moved him on my own so I was fortunate I was soon joined by two more chaps.”
A group of five rescuers eventually hauled the driver clear of the cab and moved him away from danger.
Mr Hancock’s boss, Phil Sutcliffe, praised his actions and said: “He’s one of our top drivers. He drives a 250-tonne heavy tractor unit, a MAN 40-tonne vehicle. He’s a great ambassador for our company. It’s tremendous what he’s done. He’s a very quiet and reserved individual. We're very proud of him and he deserves some recognition.”
It is believed the crash was caused by a blow out on one of the lorry tyres, causing it to go out of control and through safety railings, crashing down an embankment between two motorway carriageways.
The Yorkshire Air Ambulance was called in, along with fire crews and specialist appliances to deal with the emergency.
The incident, on May 8, caused massive traffic disruption in the area. The lorry driver involved is understood to have escaped with a broken shoulder and cuts and bruises.