'I felt the flesh ripped off my face'

By Michael Wray and Greg Stolz
April 04, 2008 01:45am
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A SUNBAKER who was run over by a lifeguard driving a four-wheel-drive has told how he felt as the wheels rolled over his face, chest and legs.

Last November Joel Faulkner, 22, a Bond University law student fell asleep while sunbaking between the flags on the Gold Coast.

But he woke with a rude shock when a Gold Coast City Council lifeguard drove a four-wheel-drive over his head.

"I could feel the flesh getting ripped off my face and all my bones cracking," he said.

As the vehicle and a trailer carrying a jet ski drove over Mr Faulkner, the wheels cracked his ribs and tore flesh from his face, chest and legs.

Mr Faulkner said the soft sand under his head saved his life, acting as a cushion as the wheel rolled over him.

He said witnesses told him the lifeguard was "perving" on a group of bikini-clad girls instead of watching the sand.

"I'm 6ft 5in (195cm) so I'm not a small object and I was lying on a light-blue towel," he said.

Gold Coast City Council's third-party insurance covered his hospital expenses but Mr Faulkner had received legal advice against a civil action.

He claims the council never apologised.

Chief lifeguard Warren Young said he phoned the hospital on the night of the incident but was told Mr Faulkner had been discharged. However, Mr Faulkner said he was in hospital for a week.

Mr Faulkner said he simply wanted an apology and assurances the council would do more to prevent others getting run over.
"To not have heard anything is a bit of a worry and I want to make sure that procedures are put in place so this doesn't happen again," he said.

Speaking to The Courier-Mail, Mr Young would not say whether procedures had changed and denied council had been uncaring.
"It was an unfortunate accident," he said. "Our immediate concern was for the welfare of the man. We had three lifeguards administer first aid at the scene and made sure he was taken to hospital by ambulance.

"I phoned the Gold Coast Hospital that night to check how he was but was told he had been discharged.

"We have investigated the circumstances very carefully and have reviewed our procedures in this case