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Royal Humane Society of New Zealand Award Presentations

Royal Humane Society of New Zealand Award Presentations

Citations – Strictly embargoed until 2.45pm, 20 June
Murray Michie – Stanhope Gold Medal
Christopher Muller – Royal Humane Society Silver Medal
Murray Edward Michie, Stanhope Gold Award
Shortly after 2.00 pm on Saturday 11th July 2015, four men and a young woman came across a vehicle accident at Mount Stewart, Manawatu on SH3, near Bulls.
The driver of a Mitsubishi Diamante, who died instantly in the crash, had been travelling in excess of 150 km per hour on the wrong side of the road.
He had eventually lost control, hit a traffic island and crashed head-on into a Toyota Landcruiser driven by Susan Evans, who was accompanied by her three young daughters, Gabrielle, Hannah and Hayley.
The Landcruiser and its horse-float jack-knifed, overturned and came to rest, straddling a fence on a steep bank. The vehicle was on its roof.
When Murray Michie arrived on the scene, he saw flames and smoke in the Landcruiser. He was counseled against approaching the car because of the likelihood of an explosion. However, he repeatedly entered it to free all of the occupants.
The eldest girl climbed out through the rear hatch after it had been opened by Mr Michie, who helped her to safety.
A delivery truck driver, who was also a volunteer fireman, had been first on the scene and used extinguishers he obtained from other drivers to keep the fire in the Landcruiser at bay.
Mr Michie saw that the flames in the engine compartment had begun to spread through the firewall and into the passenger area. The three remaining passengers in the Landcruiser were wearing seatbelts, which had tightened on impact. He could not release two of the belts, which were jammed and he called for someone to find a knife. A young man provided a knife and then used a fire extinguisher which Mr Michie had retrieved from the boot.
By this time, smoke was billowing from car. With the pocket knife in hand, Mr Michie entered the vehicle and cut the remaining occupants free of their seatbelts.
The volunteer fireman continued trying to control the fire, but the heat became so intense that it forced him to move away briefly. He then entered the vehicle to help Mr Michie release Ms Evans, who had received critical injuries, and was unconscious.
Her seatback had collapsed, and she had been forced forward so that she was wedged between the front seats, with her legs trapped behind the steering wheel. After Mr Michie had cut her seatbelt, he and four others moved her out of the car. When they were three metres or so away from the vehicle, it exploded.
St John Ambulance, Police and the Fire Services then arrived and took control of the situation.
But for the actions of Murray Michie and the four others who had been involved in the rescue, all putting themselves in obvious danger, several people would have lost their lives.
For his acts of bravery, described by one eye-witness as ‘amazing’,
Murray Edward Michie was awarded a Royal Humane Society of New Zealand Silver Medal in 2016.

Christopher George Muller, Silver Medal
On Friday 19th September 2014, in Havelock North, Christopher Muller, a volunteer fire fighter, was on sick leave recuperating from recent surgery, when he was notified by his pager that there was a fire at nearby property.
Mr Muller knew that it would take time for a fire appliance to reach the house, so Mr Muller went with his father to investigate the fire. Mr Muller found the house to be fully alight, with thick black smoke billowing out. A neighbour advised that the only female occupant of the house had been seen safely out of the house, but she could not be located.
Mr Muller checked the perimeter of the house. When he called out, he received a response from inside. Despite having no breathing apparatus or protective clothing, Mr Muller entered the house. At this point the fire had taken over, with flames in the ceiling and a smoke layer approximately 50cm off the ground.
After crawling some 10 to 12 metres in the hall, Mr Muller located the occupant in a semi-conscious state and dragged her outside to safety.
The woman was suffering from smoke inhalation and minor abrasions. Mr Muller stayed with her until the ambulance arrived and transferred her to hospital. She was admitted into Intensive Care in a critical condition, and fortunately she recovered.
The decisive actions of Mr Muller, undertaken with little regard for his own safety, directly contributed to the saving of another person’s life.
Christopher George Muller was awarded a Royal Humane Society of New Zealand Silver Medal.

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