Australia — A TERRIFIED couple from Worcester managed to make a lucky escape as their car became trapped by the rampaging flames of an Australian bushfire.
Louise Phillips and Calum McKay, of Tower Road, Barbourne, said it looked like hell when a bushfire suddenly broke out around them as they travelled back from a swimming trip.
Miss Phillips and Mr McKay are currently 11 months into a year-long, dream working holiday in the country, which has been battling unseasonably bad bushfires since October.
The wildfires have cost lives and devastated hundreds of homes across Australia.
The couple, both aged 29, were travelling through the Pilbara area in the north of Western Australia, back to the Auski Roadhouse at the edge of the Karijini National Park, when the fires broke out without warning.
Fortunately, the pair were travelling with an Aboriginal man who knew the area well and managed to drive their four wheel-drive vehicle through the flames to safety.
Miss Phillips, who is working as a counter assistant at the roadhouse, said: It was like driving through hell.
We were frightened because the fires just started so suddenly and were spreading very quickly.
Luckily, the man who was driving the giant four wheel-drive we were in knew what he was doing and managed to get us past the flames.
We are just really grateful that we werent alone and were with someone who knew the area well. Ten minutes after we passed through the bushfire the road was closed off and last night [Tuesday], the whole hill was on fire.
We can still see the fire from where we live but it has died back a bit.
The terrifying trip back to their temporary home was the first time the couple had experienced the bushfires despite extensive travel in the country.
New South Wales has been hit particularly hard by wildfires, with more than 200 homes destroyed as flames swept across the state last month, with fires engulfing a 1,000-mile stretch of bush.
Advice from the Australian Department of Fire and Emergency Services warns people not to drive during a bushfire.
It said: Driving is very dangerous and stressful during a bushfire with smoke making it hard to see, fallen trees over the road and power lines down.