Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Boy, 12, drives pickup to flee Australia bushfire

Police have rescued a 12-year-old boy who fled a raging bushfire in Western Australia by driving his brother's pickup to safety with their dog.

Luke Sturrock was alone at home when a fast-moving blaze threatened the town of Mogumber, north of Perth, on Sunday.

His dad, Ivan Sturrock, and older brother were out fighting the fire as it ripped through the area.

They told him to flee to an orange tree about 4km (2.4 miles) away if the fire got too close to their home.

When the fire closed in, the boy grabbed his dog and escaped in his brother's Ford Ranger.

About an hour later, firefighters who were battling the blaze nearby came across the boy behind the wheel of the vehicle and pulled him over.

"Typical farm boy, he was pretty clever, I think the problem was he just didn't quite know where to go and it was hard to see with all the smoke," Craig Spencer, of the Bindoon Bushfire Brigade, told ABC Radio Perth.

"So I think he probably panicked a bit and when we found him he was pulled up on the side of the road."

The fire crew took him to safety and left him with police, who reunited him with his father.

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