THE wife of a Central Queensland man trapped under a ute says her husband would not have survived if a group of New Zealand men driving by had not stopped to help.
John Williams almost died on the side of the highway before the convoy of New Zealand builders, most from Auckland, came to the rescue.
The nine Kiwis won the praise of police and the trapped man's wife, Darlene Williams, for lifting the ute off the Rubyvale man after it crashed off the Warrego Hwy near Roma, on January 7.
Ms Williams said "if they had not shown up when they did, my husband would not have lived".
Mr Williams, 60, was in a critical but stable condition in Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital yesterday with broken ribs, bleeding on the brain, a punctured lung and severe burns to his shoulder, neck and face.
"I know how strong those boys are. And I knew that when they put effort into something I knew they could do it," Ms Williams said.
"As soon as I saw them coming down the hill to the ute I thought 'oh my God I know these guys can lift this'. I just kept saying 'my husband's under the ute, please, please get him out'.
"They deserve an award for it because they were the only people who stopped and ... if they hadn't have stopped and done what they did, John would not have made it."
Mr Williams, the couple's son Toby and their dog were in the ute as the family moved their furniture from the Gemfields to Oakey, closer to Brisbane.
Ms Williams, who was driving with her niece in a vehicle behind the ute, said the leading vehicle lurched in one direction and it appeared as though her husband had over-corrected the steering.
The ute rolled "about six times", tossing Mr Williams from the cabin and eventually coming to a stop on its wheels in a ditch on the roadside.
"It had pinned John underneath it," Ms Williams said.
"We had no idea (where he was).
"I ... ran back to the ute to make sure John was okay and he wasn't there. He wasn't there and we thought that he was under (furniture thrown from the back of the ute). It was so dark.
"I was just 'Oh my God, oh my God where is he?' I was calling for him and ... we just couldn't find them. Then I called for him again and we heard this almighty groan.
"I looked back and (realised) he was under the ute."
Some of the Kiwi builders, who were heading to Roma for work, directed traffic by shining the light from their mobile phones off high-visibility clothing while the others carefully lifted the ute and pulled Mr Williams free.
He was flown to hospital where he remained in a critical but stable condition yesterday.
Last week, Ms Williams took a newspaper clipping about her husband's rescue into the intensive care unit where Mr Williams had just woken from a coma.
"He gave me the thumbs up," Ms Williams said.
"They lifted that ute, mate. They lifted that ute and they knew they had to get him out.
"What they did, it's amazing."
After her husband had been flown to hospital, Ms Williams said some of the Kiwi builders "came up and gave me a cuddle and said 'I hope he's okay'."
But she said she never got the chance to properly thank them.
"No words can say thank you enough. Nothing can," she said.
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