Crash hero wins royal accolade

Mark Bird is to be given an award from the Royal Humane Society after he pulled a car crash victim from a burning vehicle in June.
Mark Bird is to be given an award from the Royal Humane Society after he pulled a car crash victim from a burning vehicle in June.

A MAN who pulled a crash victim from a car moments before it burst into flames is to receive a royal honour.

Mark Bird, 36, was travelling along Common Side Lane at Featherstone in the early hours of June 26 when he came across a smash between a two cars, one of which was on fire.

The quick-thinking dad-of-three will receive a top Royal Humane Society award for pulling the man from the smoking car wreck – minutes before it erupted into a raging fireball.

Mr Bird, of Pontefract Road, Featherstone, told the Express: “My adrenaline kicked in and I had to help him out before the car went up in flames.

“That was my first instinct, to get him out before it exploded. He was screaming ‘I’m dying’, his legs were smashed up and there was blood everywhere.

“It all happened so quickly, I just thought I would get out and do what I could.”

Mr Bird dragged the man – who had a broken leg – to safety then helped a fellow motorist pull the trapped driver of the other car, a Ford Focus, away from the burning vehicle.

Mr Bird, a Warburton’s bakery employee, said: “The man in the Focus was in shock and we couldn’t get him out the front so we had to get him out of the back.

“It was a close call whether we left him there because we could feel the heat of the fire from the other car.”

Mr Bird – who saved a man’s life six years ago in similar circumstances – was nominated for the honour by West Yorkshire Police and will receive the award signed by Princess Alexandra next year.

He said: “You just do what you can. I didn’t really think about it.

“I’m happy about the award, it’s a bit of recognition for what some people would say was being stupid.

“But I don’t think what I did would be any different to what others would do in the same situation.”

Dick Wilkinson, Royal Humane Society secretary, said the man trapped in the burning car would have died without Mr Bird’s intervention.

He said: “Put simply, Mr Bird was the right person in the right place at the right time. He richly deserves the award he is to receive.

“It takes enormous courage to approach a blazing car. It could explode at any moment. Mr Bird definitely put his life on the line that day.”

Acting Sgt Jonathan Sewell, who nominated Mr Bird for the award, praised him for his actions.

He added: “Mark was nominated due to his quick thinking and bravery when confronted with adversity, where many others would have just stood back.

“His prompt action in helping an injured driver out of a burning car saved the man’s life, with the car shortly afterwards being engulfed by flames.”