Police have praised the actions of residents who responded to a fiery crash on Sunday evening that claimed the lives of two young men.
Bradley Potts, of Corowa and Brent Coutts, of Ascot Vale, died after the BMW they were travelling in collided with an earthen road barrier at the dead end of Cadell Street, became airborne and crashed into a garden shed on a River Street property.
Two men living within a couple hundred metres of the crash site in Corowa, on the NSW-Victoria border, were there within seconds of the crash.
One of the neighbours, who did not wish to be named, said the man who assisted with him did not hesitate and “deserved a medal”.
“Without him I couldn’t have done it – he jumped straight in, even though the car was on fire, and we were able to get him (Mr Potts) out,” he said.
“Minutes later the car caught on fire.”
Mr Potts was taken to Corowa Hospital where he died a short time later.
Emergency services that were responding, including Fire and Rescue NSW and Corowa VRA, did not know there was a second occupant in the vehicle until after the fire was extinguished about 15 minutes later.
Tributes flowed for the two young men, both aged 24, on Monday.
The Moyhu Football Netball Club wrote: “Rip Bradley Potts … to think that we won’t see you again with that cheeky grin on his face, having a joke and a beer doesn’t seem real.
“Unfortunately it is, and the Corowa boys have not lost one mate, but two.”
The River Street resident who helped has known Mr Potts since he was a young boy and was devastated when he recognised the young man.
“He was a very nice kid, the family are well-loved, it shouldn’t have happened,” he said.
“I was out feeding my dogs and I heard the car, I thought ‘It’s not going to stop’.
“Just by knowing the speeds they were doing, it was going to be a bad outcome.”
Another man who was at the scene, who also wished to stay anonymous, had called triple-0 minutes before the crash.
“The car was doing more than that (150km/h) around South Corowa,” he said.
“I was still on the phone to police when the accident occurred.”
There is a ‘road closed sign’ with the earthen barrier at the end of Cadell Street, and beyond that River Street, which also comes to a dead end at that section of road.
Detective Inspector Winston Woodward said the BMW was estimated to be travelling at speeds in excess of 150 kilometres per hour, three times the speed limit of Cadell Street, when it crashed into the barrier.
“The impact has been hard enough to dislodge a couple hundred kilogram boulder or rock which was in the retaining wall, and project that some hundred metres,” he said.
“The exact speed may be known, there are ways to examine the vehicle and components of the vehicle to find out – a brief of evidence will be prepared for the coroner.
“(With) how far the car has projected, we could have been looking at more fatalities had that vehicle gone through a house.
“The loss of life of two 24-year-old men is a tragic incident at any time and I can only call for people to obey the road rules.”
Police were not able to comment on who was driving the BMW.
Detective Inspector Woodward said he “took his hat off” to everyone who was at the scene on Sunday.
“It was a heroic act for a group of people to go into an incident which is dangerous and attempt to save a life,” he said.
“All that could be done to save the life of anybody inside the vehicle was being done.
“It’s a sad event all around for both people, the families of the deceased and not forgetting the emergency services personnel.”