Begin forwarded message:

From: Alan Skeoch <alan.skeoch@rogers.com>
Date: April 3, 2018 at 6:54:08 PM GMT-4
To: Alan Skeoch <alan.skeoch@rogers.com>

Begin forwarded message:

From: Alan Skeoch <alan.skeoch@rogers.com>
Date: April 2, 2018 at 6:03:01 PM GMT-4


Begin forwarded message:

From: Alan Skeoch <alan.skeoch@rogers.com>
Date: April 2, 2018 at 5:28:16 PM GMT-4


(Andrew Skeoch and Keith Merker)

ghost written by  Alan Skeoch
from interview with Andrew Skeoch

      (North Island,  New Zealand, winter 1991)

      The  road was empty.  Or, at least it seemed  so.   Keith was driving and I was in the passenger seat reading.
The two girls were in the back dozing.  We had  been surfing on 90 mile beach, a vast expanse of hard  sand and
foaming waves.  Wonderful place.  So huge that other cars are few and  far between and the hard  sand allowed 
us to park at the water’s edge.  We had a  great time.   

But that was  about to end.  Suddenly.

“Car! Coming at us head on.”  Keith yelled but probably never finished  the sentence.  I looked up just in time to see
a white car with two boys coming at us on the wrong side of the road.  A blind curve.  No time to think or act.

Kaboom!  Both cars were welded together and  both came to a  dead  stop in showers and gas  and metal  fragments.
None of  us had seat belts.  The moment after I looked  up from my book…milliseconds…I flew from my seat right through
the front window. Head first.  Something on my head  was  torn as  Ihit the crumpled hood of our  car. Blood. Lots of it.
My nose  was severed badly and would not stop bleeding.  It felt like a flap of meat rather than part of  my body.

Initially I was the only person who cold stand, however.  Keith’s chest had  hit and  collapsed the steering wheel while
a stiletto like piece of metal impaled his knee.  he was pinned.

The girls?   I tried to get the back door open on Jo Anne’s side.  Hard to do.  Blood pouring down my face. Finally 
the door was wrenched  open.  Jo Anne look like she was dead.  A limp body.  I placed her on the ground and
tired to revive her but feared the worst.  Then her eyes opened but she could not talk.  Her jaw was broken dead  centre.
But she was alive.  The other girl was mobile by then but badly cut in the lower torso.  She was stretched out on
the highway beside Jo Anne.

By  that time Keith had  freed  himself and  took a look at me.  Something had  to be done.  I was losing so  much  blood.
So he wound my head  and  face with tape…looked like  a mummy.  But the tape stopped  the heavy bleeding.  Keith
could not walk.  He hobbled.

The boys in the other car were in a state  of shock.  We pulled our camping gear from our car and  laid out 
what we could  right on the road.  

No car came.  We hoped and prayed but no car.  After two hours I decided to try to walk  and get help.  I was
the least hurt although my bloody clothes  looked  terrible.  And the making tape bandages were sinister looking.  Who would stop
to help once they saw me at the side of the road?  Just as I started,  a  car full  of  tourists came
around  the bend.   They had  phones.

A helicopter arrived in short order with a medic who bandaged us up and loaded both girls aboard for
the flight back to Auckland.  

Keith and I  had to wait for an ambulance and then faced a miserable six hour drive to the same hospital
in Auckland.   My nose was bad.  I feared the worst.  What would life be like without a nose?  The windshield
had lived my nose  across he bottom and up the right side.  So it was just hanging by he flesh on the left side.
What followed was wise than the accident as far as I was  concerned.  It was  night when we arrived but
there could be no delay so the surgeon began  stitching immediately.. Freezing kept the
nostril bridge from hurting but the rest was  sheer agony as the doctor had to reach up inside my nostril
to get the stitches to take hold.  And there was no freezing up there.  This was not a nice experience.

There was, however, a rosy ending.  Archie Clarke, the investigating police officer came down to
Auckland with us.  He was  responsible for policing the Northern Territory so that was  some distance
from his home base.   As far a the accident was concerned we were in the clear.  the other car
was in our lane.  Their fault.   Some comfort but not much for our car had to be written off and 
we had  very little money left.

Then a weird thing happened.  Archie Clarke volunteered to take us all…two boys and two girls…to his home up
north while we recuperated.  

In the end  we had a two week all expenses  paid vacation with a terrific family who loved and shared
their outdoor life.  We even went out hunting for wlld pigs in the wilds of the North Island.  I wonder how many police officers in Canada would do that?

Andrew Skeoch (almost verbatim)
April 2018
(The accident happened in 1991)

P>S>  Andrew never told us  how bad this  accident had been.  By pure chance I found
these pictures  while converting 35 mm slides to digital pictures.

This  picture  gives  a good  idea  of the impact.  Both cars are welded  together

like husband and  wife.  We never really got to know the boys in the white car.  They were

in shock.  Guess they knew they were also in big trouble.  Wrong side of the road. Nobody  had  been drinking. I say
that just in case you think four males and  two girls were violating the liquor laws.  Bad  
things happen to good people.

The gas tanks were not ruptured. That is cooling fluid on the ground.  If fire had  started

I don’t know if three of our people would have got out in time.  I might have been the
only survivor.  Cars  explode often in this kind  of collision.  We were lucky.  If you look
closely on the right side, you can  see the girls  wrapped in sleeping bags awaiting aid.

Notice that Keith Merker can  barely stand up.  Also this  gives a good  idea  of  what it was  like the fly through the windshield of our car.

What windshield, you say.  Precisely my point.  Lucky my nose is not attached to that last remaining glass shard.  Notice the bent steering wheel

  pushed  up against he dashboard by Keith’s  chest.

Help arrived.  Red car.   We had made the girls as comfortable as possible as we 
awaited the helicopter.

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