Monthly Archives: December 2018

Cops called to Vic Nats missing cash case

Victorian Nationals leader Peter Walsh says police will investigate a suspicious withdrawal of cash.Police have been called in to investigate a mystery withdrawal from a Victorian Nationals party bank account.
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In May 2017 there was $8000 taken from the party’s Morwell branch account and despite the sum being repaid, police have been asked to investigate.

“Police will speak to party officials to determine the circumstances of the complaint,” a spokesman said on Monday.

An audit of the account between January 2014 and August 2017 is understood to have sparked concerns.

“The audit indicated (the) possibility of unauthorised transactions and of an alleged forgery relating to a withdrawal of $8000 in May 2017,” Nationals state president Neil Pankhurst said in a statement.

“This sum was later deposited back into the account.”

Party leader Peter Walsh fronted reporters and would not say if the sum was connected to former Nationals MP Russell Northe, who stood down from the party in August after it was revealed he owed thousands of dollars.

Mr Walsh confirmed he loaned Mr Northe $30,000 in 2015.

“He needed money as a contribution to his franchise down there, I took him on face value at the time and loaned him that money on a handshake,” Mr Walsh said.

“I don’t (usually lend money to colleagues) and it’s good practice not to and in this case I regret the fact that Russell wasn’t totally honest with me.”

Mr Walsh said he was visited by Mr Northe last sitting week, who made a “small repayment” but he would not comment on any other money owed by the MP.

It’s believed he could have borrowed more than $685,000.

In a statement Mr Northe – who now sits in parliament as an independent – said the latest reports of his finances had been upsetting for both him and his family.

“Claims of missing money as reported in some media outlets today is simply not correct and I will be seeking legal counsel on this point,” he wrote.

He restated that in the past he made “some very poor decisions”.

His wife, Jenny, took a swipe at the Nationals.

“Russell worked extremely hard for the party for more than 10 years and is desperately trying to make amends for his mistakes,” she wrote in the same statement.

“Moreover, for our family to be dragged through the mud again for political gain is shameful.”

When Mr Northe left the Nationals he confessed to recovering from mental health and gambling issues and on Monday confirmed he continues to receive medical assistance.

He is yet to decide if he will try to hold on to the seat of Morwell at the November state election.

On Monday former senator Ricky Muir announced he’ll run with the Shooters, Fishers and Farmer’s party and Roads Minister Luke Donnellan said Labor would “love to win the seat of Morwell back”.

n readers seeking support and information about depression can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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WA camper’s disappearance suspicious

WA Police are treating the disappearance of Perth man Dean Patrick White as suspicious.The disappearance of a 55-year-old West n man, who was last seen almost a year ago, is being treated by police as suspicious.
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Dean Patrick White, known as Whitey to his friends, was a regular traveller who had been camping in March 2017 on the Murray River in Victoria.

He then drove back to WA to meet someone near the small Wheatbelt town of Quairading, with the last reported contact of him on March 31, police said on Monday.

Mr White was reported missing by family in August after failing to get in contact following his father’s death.

His older sister Debbie Smith says she last spoke to Dean early last year, on his birthday.

“He was not sure what he was going to do and was feeling a bit lonely so I suggested he come home to WA, as he was camping near Mildura on the Murray River and had been for a while,” Ms Smith said.

“That way, he could camp somewhere closer to family and our Dad who at that time was in a nursing home.”

Ms Smith, who lives in New Zealand, said she failed to reach her brother through text or phone for a few months but that was normal due to his travelling.

But when other family and friends also heard no reply she reported him missing to WA Police.

She said her brother didn’t mind being on his own.

“I don’t think he would travel with anyone or pick someone up so if he has, this is a little out of character.”

Senior Sergeant Manus Walsh said “the disappearance was suspicious in nature because of (Mr White’s) banking transactions and contact with family were inconsistent with his lifestyle”.

Mr White lived and travelled in a white 1989 Toyota Landcruiser with a blue trailer, which was involved in a single-vehicle crash in Queensland later in June.

Police say the driver, who is not believed to be Mr White, abandoned the car.

Mr White had suffered a minor brain injury and is affected by mild, short-term memory loss as well as walking with a slight limp.

Ms Smith said her brother was, “a fairly placid easy going guy who enjoys a beer and has a lot of family and mates that are worried about him.”

“Please, if anyone remembers seeing Dean or “Whitey” as most people knew him, let the police know,” she said.

Police will set up mobile facilities in Quairading and Kambalda on Tuesday and Kambalda and Tammin on Thursday for people wishing to speak to detectives involved with the case.

They will also visit the Eastern Goldfields, including the towns of Cocklebiddy and Balladonia, and the Mid-West Gascoyne town of Cunderdin.

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Genia fit for Super clash with Reds

Will Genia will make his Super Rugby debut for the Rebels after making 114 appearances for the Reds.Test halfback Will Genia has overcome a back injury and will make his Melbourne Rebels debut against Queensland, adding extra spice to their Super Rugby opening round clash.
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Genia has been sidelined during the pre-season with a fractured back but Rebels coach Dave Wessels said he would be fully fit for their AAMI Park match on Friday night.

Genia started his career with the Reds back in 2007 and hoped to rejoin them this season following a two-year stint in France.

But Wessels said the 30-year-old was now a committed Rebel.

“I think he’s really happy where he is and he’s enjoying his rugby,” Wessels said.

Wallabies winger Marika Koroibete, who has a knee injury, is the only key player unavailable for selection.

Genia will be joined by Jack Debreczeni in the halves, with Wessels saying the big-kicking five-eighth offered the team plenty of options in attack.

Once touted as a future Wallaby, Debreczeni’s future with the Rebels looked uncertain after a below-par 2017 but Wessels said he’d regained his confidence and love of rugby through a stint playing in Japan.

“I think Jack (Debreczeni) has got certain abilities that will unleash other parts of our team,” Wessels said.

“I know having coached against him that we spent a lot of time planning how we are going to defend against some of the things that he could do; particularly his kicking game.

“He’s got a lot of special talents but I think there’s been times over the last year or two where he just wasn’t enjoying his rugby but he’s come back from Japan with a smile on his face and I think that’s made the difference.”

Wessels joined the Rebels from the axed Western Force, along with a dozen players including Test lock and now Melbourne captain Adam Coleman, to give the perennial strugglers a massive boost of talent.

Wessels said he wasn’t feeling any added pressure to perform.

“There’s pressure on us because we want to get the reward for all the hard work we put in but we’re not solving world peace here.

“If you’ve worked hard and commit yourself than the games are just about reaping rewards for that.”

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NRLNine Newcastle Knights debutants are tipped for the round-one clash with Manly.

PAIR OF ACES: Mitchell Pearce and Kalyn Ponga talk tactics at training. They shape as a dynamic duo for Newcastle once they have established a combination. Picture: Jonathan CarrollNEWCASTLE are poised to field more new faces in the season-opener against Manly than in any game since the club’s inaugural outing, against Parramatta in round one, 1988.
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In an indication of the wholesale turnover of players during the past 12 months, Knights coach Nathan Brown is expected to choose his nine mainoff-season recruits fortheclash with the Sea Eagles at McDonald Jones Stadium on March 9.

GAME-BREAKER: Connor Watson hopes to establish himself at five-eighth.

Barring any injuries in Saturday’s trial against Parramatta at Maitland, Newcastle’s first-round squad is likely to include Kalyn Ponga, Tautau Moga, Connor Watson, Mitchell Pearce, Aidan Guerra, Jacob Lillyman, Slade Griffin, Herman Ese’eseand Chris Heighington.

It shapes asthe largest contingent of club debutants since Newcastle’s 1988 premiere performance against the Eels, when 16 players wore the red-and-blue jersey for the first time in the NSW Rugby League premiership.

PRIME MOVER: Herman Ese’ese was a key signing from Brisbane.

Brown is no stranger to unveiling revamped teams.

Two years ago, in hisfirst game at Newcastle’s helm, seven players – David Bhana, Jaelen Feeney, Trent Hodkinson, Pat Mata’utia, Pauli Pauli and the Saifiti twins, Jacob and Daniel –debuted against the Gold Coast.

In round one, 1989, six debutants– Michael Hagan, Peter Johnston, Mark Sargent, Gary Wurth, John Allanson and Arnold Krewanty – helped the Knights to a season-opening win against Wests Magpies.

In 2008, Brian Smith’s second season as Knights coach, he ushered in five new signings: Richie Fa’aoso, Matt Hilder, Chris Houston, Wes Naiqama and Danny Wicks.

Brown’s full-time squad this yearfeatures 22 changes sincethe corresponding point of last season.

Brown is set to name his line-up on Tuesday for Saturday’s hit-outwith the Eels, which is expected to include Moga, Daniel Saifiti and Mitch Barnett, all of whom had off-season shoulder reconstructions.

The trial, which has attracted a sell-out crowd of 6500, shapes as the last chance forplayers to state a case for round-one selection.

The backline appears settled but there will be fierce competition for spots in the pack, where Josh King, the Saifitis and Lachlan Fitzgibbon are competing for selection with the host of new recruits.

Parramatta are likely to bring their strongest squad to Maitland, including superstar Jarryd Hayne, who has returned after stints in the NFL and with Gold Coast Titans.

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Rush repeatedly touched actress: lawyer

Actor Geoffrey Rush’s lawyer says a newspaper’s defamation defence lacked specifity (file).Geoffrey Rush has been accused of repeatedly touching a colleague inappropriately on stage despite being asked to stop, but the actor’s lawyer says the accusations against him are unclear and not specific.
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Rush is suing the Daily Telegraph publisher Nationwide News and journalist Jonathon Moran for defamation over articles last year which alleged inappropriate behaviour and touching during the Sydney Theatre Company production of King Lear.

The Telegraph’s defence barrister Tom Blackburn SC told the Federal Court on Monday Rush touched a female co-star several times during the final week of the 2015 show, in a way that made her uncomfortable, and in a way he hadn’t touched her before.

“Now, she said stop – he didn’t. He went on doing it. Our case is that that in itself is inappropriate,” he said.

But Rush’s barrister, Richard McHugh SC says the accusations are vague and “opaque”.

Mr Blackburn was fighting an interlocutory application by Rush’s legal team to have all of the Telegraph’s truth defence and part of its qualified privilege defence struck out.

Mr McHugh said parts of the defence lacked specificity and still didn’t detail what Rush’s supposed behaviour actually was.

He said the behaviour supposedly occurred when Rush and his co-star were required to touch on stage.

It wasn’t clear how the actor’s manner of touching was alleged to have changed towards the end of the production to make his colleague feel uncomfortable, the barrister said.

“To this day it’s not clear what they’re saying. Not just unclear, it’s completely opaque,” Mr McHugh said.

A barrister for the Telegraph previously said the articles didn’t make allegations that Rush engaged in inappropriate behaviour of a sexual nature.

Mr Blackburn on Monday said for the purposes of the defence it wasn’t important where Rush touched his co-star, but the fact she allegedly asked him to stop – and he didn’t – made it inappropriate.

He said an inference could be readily drawn in the circumstances that the alleged touching was intentional.

Mr McHugh said, from the Telegraph’s defence, it appeared Rush’s co-star was not one of their sources for the story.

Mr McHugh said the tabloid’s sources for the articles, as described in the defence, included three confidential sources, someone from the Sydney Theatre Company, someone living in the United States, social media posts and an email which appeared to be anonymous.

Rush, who was not at court on Monday, denies the accusations including that he was asked to stop.

Justice Michael Wigney has reserved his decision on the strike out application.

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Stunning estate opens its doors to a fortunate fewFood News

MEMORABLE: Sweetwater Estate Wines at Belford is hosting a lunch and a dinner next month catered by Troy Rhoades-Brown of Muse Restaurant.
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Have you ever wanted to have a bit of a sticky beak at the stunning Sweetwater Estate at Belford? Then perhaps you should try your luck at securing a ticket to an exclusive dining experience on March 17. Tickets, if you are fortunate enough to grab one, cost $150 and includeVIP access to the estate’s grounds; canapes and four delectable coursesfrom chef Troy Rhoades-Brown and his team at themulti-award-winning Muse Restaurant; and Sweetwater wines. Phone4990 0702 or [email protected]苏州夜总会招聘.au for more information.

Seafood kingCelebrity chef and television presenter Rick Stein is opening a restaurant in Port Stephens as part of a $7 million overhaul of Salamander Shores.

Bought by Bannisters Hotels last year, Salamander Shores will be transformed into a four-star boutique hotel.

Bannisters Port Stephens, as the hotel will be named, will be similar to the group’s hotel in Mollymook where Stein and his wife Sarah have run a restaurant for the past eight years.

Stein said he would be working closely withhead chef Mitchell Turner to design a menu featuring local king prawns, yellowfin bream, flathead, calamari, school whiting andoysters.

The restaurant will be located at the rear of the hotel, above the tavern. The tavern is stilltrading and willremain operational once the hotel is up and running.

Pack a picnicPicnic in the Park returns to Toronto Foreshore this Friday, February 23. From5.30pm to 7.30pm you can enjoyfree games, acoustic music and a storytime session. Bring your ownrugor chair and pack a picnic.This event is an initiative of the Sustainable Neighbourhood Alliance, Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group, Ability Links,Lake Mac LibrariesandLake Macquarie City Council.

Argy to closeThe Argenton Hotel is closing its doors to undergo a multimillion-dollar facelift. The upgrade is expected to take about six months to complete.A function centre will be built on a neighbouring property, the car park extended and the hotel’s interior and exterior refurbished. Owners Campbell and Clare Rogers say the overhaul is a response to “the high demand for versatile venues able to cater to the needs of an ever-changing community”.

“There are a lot of young families in the community and the area is developing and changing every year,” Mrs Rogers said.

“From the outset we have always focused on providing good value and quality pub-style food that caters for the whole family.

“We now want to build on that reputation by bringing a new kind of pub experience to both the people of Lake Macquarie and the wider community.”

Under the starsFive Senses Twilight Market returns toLambton Park on Sunday, March 4. The event is acelebration of food, craft beer and wine, live music andmarket stalls aimed at raising money for The Leukaemia Foundation. Be there from 4pm onwards.

Women in wineInternational Women’s Day is on March 8 and Cellarmasters is celebrating ’s female winemakers at a Meet the Makers: Women in Wine event at Walsh Bay. The Hunter Valley’s Gwyn Olsen, head winemaker at Pepper Tree Wines and Briar Ridge Wines, will be there.

Vegan dinnerSprout Dining is hosting a four-course vegan dinner on February 28, 6.30pm to 11pm. The cost is $50 per person. Phone4927 1138 to book.

Curry nightYou might know of Amorelle Dempster for her leading role in Slow Food Hunter Valley.Well, her daughter Georgia Dempster, her partner Adrian Nies and his brother Marshall are shaving their heads for a good cause at a special curry night to be held at Readers Cafe and Larderfrom 6pm this Saturday, February 24. The trio are raising money for The Leukaemia Foundation and donating their hair to make wigs. Tickets cost $25; bookings essential at trybooking苏州夜总会招聘.

Dinner and movieFlicks on the Green returns tothe stunning garden at Gray’s Inn, Wollombi, on March 3. Classic movieAll The President’s Men starring Dustin Hoffman andRobert Redford is screening. Tickets are $20 for the movie including a glass of Noyce Brothers Wine on arrival, or $65 for the dinner andmovie package atPanino Caffè & Restaurant. Bookings essential by phoning Julie at Noyce Brothers Cellar door on 4998 3483 or 0416 245 655.

Tinder for foodCrave, a food App launched in August by NovocastrianJessica Koncz, has reached a significant milestone – more than 10,000 people have downloaded it and are using it to make food selections. In a nutshell, the App features dishes from Newcastle eateries which can be chosen by “swiping right”. Koncz and her team hope to launch Crave in other regional cities, as well as major cities, sooner rather than later.

Kahibah villageThe Cracked Cup Cafe & Pizzeria at Kahibah has new owners, Matt and Catherine, anda new breakfast and lunch menu. There is a nice little village atmosphere along the main shopping strip, too.

A sell outFeast Fest made its Speers Point Park debut last Saturday however it appears that demand exceeded supply and many food trucks ran out of food well before the advertised closing time. Organisers said: “We will be back next month with more food trucks/vendors. We will deliver next month.”

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Dad’s racing death grief read to Vic court

Adem Arpaci (left) has been found guilty of culpable driving that caused two deaths (file).The father of a teenager killed in a high-speed car chase in Melbourne has described how he is plagued by flashbacks of the charred remains of his “baby girl”.
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Ivana Clonaridis, 18, and Harley Churchill, 19, died on January 27, 2016 when their ute exploded in a fireball while drag racing Adem Arpaci, then 21, along the Western Ring Road.

Arpaci was found guilty by a jury of two counts of culpable driving after he goaded others to participate in a high-speed race following an illegal skids meeting, where drivers go to perform and watch burnouts.

Witnesses claimed they saw the two vehicles “flying past” before Mr Churchill lost control of his ute at 182 km/h.

The vehicle smashed through a road barrier, down an embankment and caught fire.

A statement from Ms Clonaridis’ father, Ignos, was read to the County Court of Victoria on Monday.

He grieved his “baby, my little girl”, who he said he was never able to hold “one last time”.

“The night I found out about my daughter’s tragic death, the ground disappeared from under my feet,” he said.

“I went to the crash site until the sun came out … I thought ‘why was it my baby girl and not me?'”

Mr Clonaridis said as a result of the grief, his relationship with his new wife broke down and he was no longer able to work and support himself.

“I often have flashbacks of seeing my daughter’s charred remains at the mortuary,” he said.

“My happiness died that night with my baby girl.”

Defence lawyer Russ Hammill said Arpaci, now 23, had no previous criminal history and was otherwise a young man of “exemplary character”.

He also said Mr Churchill had influenced Arpaci’s behaviour to some extent on the night in question, a matter conceded by the Crown.

“Their joint encouragement held with each other – as much as it cuts one way, it cuts the other,” he argued.

However, Judge Frances Hogan denied the mutual encouragement reduced Arpaci’s moral culpability, referring to his “ducking and weaving”, his high speeds and the fear other drivers experienced as the two sped past.

Mr Hammill said Arpaci was young, remorseful and had become “a recluse”, finding himself “mentally decomposing” after the fatal race.

Judge Hogan said she would need to “reflect long and hard” before sentencing Arpaci on March 16.

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Winter Olympics: Waratah figure skater Kailani Craine edges closer to Games debut in PyeongChang

TIME: Waratah figure skater Kailani Craine at Hunter Ice Skating Stadium earlier this month. Picture: Jonathan CarrollWinter Olympics debutante Khalani Craine has a triple-loop, triple-loop combination in her figure skating kit bag, but the Waratah 19-year-old won’t decide whether or not to use it until competition day.
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The Hunter Ice Skating Stadium product takes to the PyeongChang stage from midday on Wednesday (ADST), almost a fortnight after participating in the opening ceremony, hoping to impress in hershort program and progress toFriday’s event-ending freestyle finale.

“My short is technically really difficult, with a triple-loop triple-loop in the second half of the program,”Craine toldtheNewcastle Heraldat her homeWarners Bay venue earlier this month.

“Thatcombo is harder than a toe-loop combo. A lot of girls do triple something triple toe, but I’mbetter at loop which is why I’ve decided to have it in the second half of my program because you score morepoints.

“It’s going really well at the moment, but I always have the option not too do it. I can make that decision when I get there. The main thing is to have a solid program at the Olympics.”

After a few self-confessed “shaky” practice runs Craine, who will be one of 30 international competitors in the preliminary round,has been recently joined in South Korea by US-based coach Tiffany Chin.

“I’m so happy to have Tiffany with me now, and just having her on the barriers to remind me of little things to help my technique,” Craine told n Olympic Committee (AOC) media.

“Everything is feeling a lot better.”

Craine’s parents and grandparents are also set to be supporting the nine-time n champion, including juniors and seniors, from the grandstand.

“I really feel like it’s all of us out there competing, not just me,” she told the AOC.

“My family has sacrificed so much for me to do this and they’ve been on this journey every step of the way, so it won’t be just me out there on the ice, it will be all of us.”

Craine’s relatives will also deliver a new custom-made dress from Adelaide for her free program, which goes for four minutes and 10 seconds.

The short program is two minutes and 50 seconds in duration and performed to classicsong Dream A Little Dream Of Me.

“I’vebeen doing my short program for two years now,” she said.

“I usually do a new routine each season, but I love my short program so much from the2016-2017 season that Ihad to keep it again for this one.

“My free program remains the same from thisseason.”

Craine said it was always important to“stay in the moment andfocus on what I’m doing at that time”.

The former Hamilton SFXstudent hasn’t set a result-based target, rather she wants to “skate clean andhave a really solid performance”.

Elsewhere at the Games and Eleebana 28-year-old aerial skiier Samantha Wells finished 17thin Thursday’s qualifiers whileUniversity of Newcastle student Matt Graham became ’s first medallist at PyeongChang with silver in the men’s moguls.

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Calls for more scrutiny of Victoria’s cops

The Police Association will face a public hearing into police corruption in Victoria (File).Victoria needs an independent body to investigate allegations of police misconduct because the state’s anti-corruption processes are ineffective, a law firm says.
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Robinson Gill Lawyers’ Jeremy King, who works with people alleging police misconduct, on Monday told a parliamentary inquiry the current system was broken.

He said complaints put to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission were often referred back to the police force, and in the end only about nine per cent were substantiated.

“(The) current complaints system simply is not working,” Mr King told MPs.

“The majority of my clients get referred back to Victoria Police, who do an investigation.

“The collective experience of our clients … has been one of uniform dissatisfaction and disempowerment.”

As IBAC’s scope was limited to corruption, Mr King said there should be an independent body set up to deal with all police complaints.

At the very least, he argued there should be greater scrutiny around when complaints are investigated by IBAC and when they get referred back to the force.

“Historically, complaints which legal practitioners consider very serious have been referred back to Victoria Police,” Mr King said.

“If IBAC is going to continue to refer back to Victoria Police …. these complaints should be limited to genuine customer service complaints.”

The Police Association rejected calls for an independent body or a broader remit for IBAC to tackle complaints against officers.

“I’m … unconvinced that the public has lost faith in the current system,” the association’s legal manager Chris Gorissen told the inquiry.

Secretary Wayne Gatt added police work was “inherently susceptible” to misconduct allegations.

“Complaints, at times, are merely lodged … in response to criminal conduct,” he said.

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Caroline Buchanan opens up about rebuilding her body after a horrific crash

Caroline Buchanan sat silently in the passenger seat next to her fiance, struggling to breathe and with blood smeared across her face.
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On the outside she was calm. Silent and focused – just like she is before a BMX race. She stayed like that for four and a half hours.

Caroline Buchanan has returned to the AIS for rehabilitation after her accident. Photo: Karleen Minney

On the inside her body was a mess. A broken nose, broken sternum, two collapsed lungs and dangerous bleeding around her heart.

Then she heard the quivering voice.

The paramedic in the ambulance was calling ahead to The Canberra Hospital to prepare them for Buchanan’s arrival.

“I was running on adrenaline. About 30 minutes outside of Canberra the ambulance guy called the hospital and he had a shaky, nervous voice,” Buchanan said.

“If you’re a paramedic you’ve seen a lot of things and they handle themselves so well. I thought if he’s nervous … that’s when I knew it was life-threatening.”

Caroline Buchanan after arriving at hospital. Photo: Supplied

Buchanan had an “eerie” feeling before going to a private property 45 minutes outside of Cooma on December 30.

The two-time Olympian and eight-time world champion was at a friend’s farm when an off-road buggy rolled and caused the injuries.

The driver was OK but Buchanan was in debilitatingpain andstruggling to breathe. She knew something was seriously wrong and that’s when she started to fight.

Her fiance,American BMX rider Barry Nobles, saw Buchanan running towards him with tears in her eyes and blood dripping from her nose.

Knowing they had no phone reception, they did the only thing they could. They strapped Buchanan into the front seat of a car and started driving towards Cooma Hospital.

“I couldn’t talk because I knew I would panic. So I went into a meditation of breathing … if someone was talking to me I didn’t hear them. If I panicked, that would have put extra pressure on my organs and who knows,” an emotionalBuchanan said speaking about the accident for thefirsttime.

“In those situations, you’ve just got to fight. You’ve got no option.

“I’m doing rehabilitation now [at the AIS], but myhead spaceis focusing on the human aspect of it rather than the athlete.”

From the moment they arrived at Cooma Hospital, it took another four hours to get to Canberra via ambulance, where they drained 2.5 litres of blood and fluid from her lungs over three days and she spent four days in the intensive care unit.

For someone whose racing career is defined by milliseconds, a five-hour ordeal and week in hospital must have felt like a lifetime.

Buchanansays the only way she can describe the pain of collapsed lungs is the sensation of being winded but not being able to get your breath back. That’s how she felt for five hours.

But despite her still-obvious discomfort – even now she has to roll herself in and out of bed because of the pain – Buchanan is framing this as a positive story.

One of rebuilding her body,instilling a belief she can overcome any adversity and, remarkably, helping her push boundaries on her bike.

“I’m happy that situation wasn’t any worse and I’ve got opportunities to continue my career and … to just live,” Buchanan said.

“When life is so fast, you don’t always appreciate little things. I remember sitting in hospital and watching the sunset. It’s just genuine gratefulness.

“I know I survived that accident. So in a way I know the forces involved in that accident can never happen on a bike. I know the limit for my body, I know I can heal. Which I guess makes my sport a bit easier now.

“I definitely got that sense of you’re not invincible … humans are fragile. And I thrive on adversity, it lights a fire in me.”

Buchanan has faced adversity before. Herfamily home was destroyed in the 2003 Canberra bushfires.

She was a gold-medal contender at theLondonandRio Olympic Games, but missed out on a medal at both events. She already has her sights on making amends at Tokyo in 2020.

“I know that if I win another world title, it’s going to mean more than anything that I’ve ever achieved.”

Her start to 2018, however, will be delayed by up to six months and will likely mean she misses the BMX world championships for just the second time in her career.

Her lungs and heart have healed, but her broken sternum is still mending and may take another four months until it’s strong.

Medical images of the crack in Caroline Buchanan’s sternum. Photo: Supplied

When her rehabilitation began, she was told not to lift anything heavier than a plate. When she sneezed for the first time last week she cried in pain, but it was a reminder the bones were healing.

The silver-lining to the injury-enforced break – the longest of her career – is that she has time to plan a wedding with the man who helped save her life.

Adrenaline junkie Nobles has grown up on BMX ramps, motorbikes and hadplenty of experience taking “dudes to hospital” before the harrowing drive with his fiancee.

“Getting injured has been a part of my life. Normally it’s me in hospital. I heard my name when Caroline was coming towards me and I turned around and she had blood going down her face,” a relaxed Nobles said.

Barry Nobles, left, was in hospital with Buchanan every night. Photo: Supplied

“The bottom of her nose was slit and peeled back down to her lip, her chest was hurting … it didn’t really matter what was going on, we were hauling arse to the hospital anyway.

“I’m a glass half-full person. I knew if Ifreakedout, it would make it worse for her. Even if her face was hanging off and she doesn’t realise, I wouldn’t let her know. Just keep it calm and move forward.”

Buchanan adds: “When you love someone, you can be a nervous wreck or take charge. Every hour Barry was checking the machines and monitors. He was unbelievable.”

Nobles, who slept at the hospital with Buchanan but has returned to the US to train, will have Buchanan by his side as a “watergirl and fan girl” for a Crankworx race in New Zealand next month.

“We’re fortunate that everything is OK, it could have been so much worse. But she’s healthy, she’s walking … she’s normal Caroline,” Nobles said.

Caroline Buchanan has started training at the AIS. Photo: Karleen Minney

Buchanan hasn’t set a return date. She has been working with AIS medical, rehab and gym staff, including Julian Jones, Greg Lovell and David Hughes, to help her recover.

She was touched by the the way fans and Cycling , the sports commission and other athletes reached out to see if she was OK.

Her parents have been driving her to rehabilitation appointments and been looking after her at home. She says all of those things and her injury will make it so much sweeter when she returns.

“First of all I’ve just got to rebuild my body. I had an eerie feeling on the day that something was going to go wrong. For something to go wrong, it was probably the worst place for it,” Buchanan said.

“But the adversity of everything now excites me, this is my biggest challenge yet.”

Canberra Times

Caroline Buchanan is working with AIS medical staff to recover. Photo: Karleen Minney​

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