Family lucky to be alive after Outback crash

Ellsmore carFor Rosy Ellsmore and her family, life changed forever on a long straight road near the Queensland and Northern Territory boarder.

They were only two weeks into a trip around Australia when they were involved in a single vehicle accident just outside of the small Outback town of Camooweal.

Their trailer jack-knifed and in the path of an oncoming road train, the family car left the road, hit a concrete culvert and rolled point to point.

“We’ve relived it many times,” says Rosy, who lives at Wilton, about 80 km south of Sydney. “It was the strangest accident. We thought our time was up.”

Rosy’s husband, Tim, was driving. Their two children, Angus, 9, and Madaleine, 7, were in the back seat.

Conditions were sunny and clear that day. The bitumen road had little traffic and the family’s sedan was travelling at the legal speed limit.

“The next minute the trailer got into a bit of a whip behind the car.

“We’d had a few before. The trailer starts to whip and you just accelerate a bit and it pulls it out.

“Tim tried that this time and next minute the trailer was coming right over onto the other side of the road.

“It was so weird and calm, how you are, when something like this happens. The car and the trailer became quite out of control and Tim said ‘we’ve got to get off the road’. There was a road train coming in the other direction.

“We could see it in the distance. Tim then said ‘we’re probably going to crash’. It was lucky he was driving because he used every bit of strength he had.”

Ellsmore2 for blogAs it left the bitumen, the family’s sedan smashed into a concrete culvert, busting the trailer connection and sending it freewheeling across the dirt.

The car then rolled before landing back on its wheels.

Rosy recalls blacking out briefly and then waking to see her husband unconscious beside her.

“I thought he was dead,” she says.

A policeman from Camooweal, who took photos, told her later his first reaction was: “It’s a family and it will be four fatalities.”

Ellsmore family being airliftedRosy had broken her hand and had extensive bruising. Tim’s foot was badly hurt. The children were bloodied and bruised. All four were in shock.

“We were there, we were all there. I was starting to get frightened, then I saw that tiny little dot in the sky … It was an RFDS plane. I will never forget it … that’s when we knew we were going to get to the hospital.”

Rosy says the RFDS managed to fit all four family members on board for the trip to Mt Isa.

“It was like the RFDS just appeared out of the desert, these people to help us.

“We were lying in the middle of nowhere, all of us smashed up. You just can’t describe how relieved you are. The whole thing was a miracle.

“We know we’re lucky to be alive. We’ve got our children, we’ve got each other. We’re just very thankful. Without the RFDS, I don’t think we would have survived. People just don’t realize …”

The Ellsmore family before their accident.


About Royal Flying Doctor

The Royal Flying Doctor Service has been serving the Australian community for over 85 years. From humble beginnings in 1928, the RFDS now ha
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