A truck driver who survived a horror crash on the Newell Highway in 2021 has reunited with his rescuers for the first time.
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It took four-and-a-half hours to cut Chris Scullin from the cab of his semi-trailer after it collided with a B-Double which had overturned across both lanes moments earlier.
The crash shattered the left side of Mr Scullin's face, broke his nose and right arm and left him with a titanium eye socket, a frontal lobe brain injury and post-traumatic amnesia.
But two years after the horrific scene Mr Scullin is just grateful to be alive.
"I was in a coma for nine days, but for more than a month I couldn't communicate properly," he said.
"I didn't realise the full extent of the injury or accident, and there's still about five hours of the day I have no recollection of. I'm hoping [the rescuers] can fill in those missing pieces and tell me more about the scene."
On Monday, October 30, Mr Scullin reunited for the first time with the Gilgandra rescuers who helped him escape with his life on that fateful day, April 21, 2021.
"They get out there and save the lives of complete strangers, and they don't often know what happens to them in the end. I want to go and say thank you very much for what they have done for me because I am still alive," Mr Scullin said.
The crash took place at about 5am and was attended by members of the Gilgandra SES crews, paramedics, police and firies.
While the SES volunteers worked to seperate the two large vehicles and free Mr Scullin, NSW Ambulance paramedics worked to stabilise him in the cab of the semi-trailer. He was then airlifted to Newcastle's John Hunter Hospital for treatment.
Geoff Kiehne, a paramedic and one of the SES volunteers on scene on the day, said the rescue was one of the most difficult he's been a part of.
"It was so complex because of the weights involved and how the two trucks were literally bound together," he said.
"When you move something, it could impact the patient greatly, so it was very slow, and the manoeuvres were very slight and particular.
"This was all happening while paramedics were working on Chris - one up on the roof, and one in the cab watching to make sure there wasn't anything moving onto Chris when we were moving the trucks."
Mr Kiehne was thrilled to be reunited with Mr Scullin and see the recovery he's made since the incident.
"I've been a paramedic for 40-odd years and this is the first time I have had someone come back to me after a long recovery period to say thank you. It's pretty unusual," he said.
The Gilgandra SES unit hopes a donation from Access Metal Recycling of a new hydraulic ram worth $5000 will make rescues like Mr Scullin's easier.
"This tool will be used in road crash scenes, like the one we helped rescue Chris from, to help free people from wreckages," Mr Kiehne said.
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