Everyday Heroes: Michael Van Baast

 In Everyday Heroes

This week in Everyday Heroism, we are highlighting an Australian who put his life at risk to save a stranger. Michael Van Baast was travelling from Cootamundra to Wallendbeen at 2 am when he discovered a horrifying sight.

The footage from Baast’s dashcam captured his heroic deeds

Immediately, Baast exited his vehicle and rescued the injured driver before the situation escalated into a deadly inferno. Even as the engine was exploding under the impact, Baast struggled for 11 minutes to “brute force” his way into the vehicle to rescue the driver, 22-year-old Jacob Prosser. The young father had fallen unconscious after colliding with the tree, his legs pinned under the wreckage. Baast’s statement to the Daily Telegraph regarding his motivation was incredibly humble:

I didn’t think at all, I just did what needed to be done.

The full footage shows Baast going through the tray of the smashed ute for tools that would help him  rescue its occupant, and dragging Prosser’s limp body to safety. Incredibly, the smashed ute burst into flames just 90 seconds after Baast pulled the driver to safety. If he had thought to hesitate at all, Prosser would not be alive today.

In the wake of his actions, Baast has been hailed as a hero

The community and Prosser’s family express their boundless gratitude for Baast’s actions on that fateful night. Baast has also received high praise from the Cootamundra police and first responders who arrived at the scene shortly after. Most remarkable of all is Baast’s enduring modesty following his extraordinary efforts. He told Seven News:

I can appreciate that yeah, I saved someone’s life and a mother’s still got a son, and a child’s still got a father.

The team at Hero Town applauds Michael Van Baast for his bravery. We hope he receives the bravery award for which Prosser’s mother has nominated him. For more inspirational stories of heroism, like Hero Town Geelong on Facebook.

Steph Downing
Stephanie Downing is the administrative assistant for Hero Town Geelong. Born and raised in Geelong, Australia, Stephanie is a graduate of Deakin University with her Honours degree in Professional and Creative Writing. She adores words of all sorts and is especially infatuated with the medium of poetry and fiction, with publications of her work being featured in magazines such as WORDLY Magazine, Plumwood Mountain Journal and Cordite Poetry Review.
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