May 21, 2013 - 7:32 AM
An Alberta man was rushed to the hospital this afternoon cutting short his car race to the top of Kelowna's Knox Mountain. The man's '92 Ford Mustang burst into flames when a slippery hair-pin turn sent his car off the course and head-first into a tree trunk.
Smoke was still spilling from the vehicle when emergency teams pulled the man from the wreckage. It took more than 30 minutes for fire crews to cut through the car's roll cage, remove the driver's door and bring in the jaws of life to pull him to safety.
Driver Tom Edwards, a veteran racer in his 50's, was on his second run up the Knox Mountain Hill Climb when the incident happened. It appears a light rain had slickened the road way causing Edwards to fishtail his vehicle turning the corner at close to 100 kilometers an hour.
Hill Climb safety manager Bruce Newton says despite the impact the driver did not appear seriously injured and was sent for examination at the hospital. In Newton's 26 years working with the Hill Climb he says today's incident was one of the ugliest he's seen.
"Unfortunately with a big tree like that it makes the car stop a lot faster," Newton says. "The cages built inside these cars take an awful lot of stress, which this one did."
"These cars are set up to take this kind of abuse," Newton says, and with proper safety gear the driver was spared a more devastating outcome.
Every year the Canadian Auto Racing Association supports the Hill Climb with emergency equipment and medical staff, on hand for any blips along the race course.
No time was wasted after firetrucks left the scene.
Volunteer crews were busily sweeping debris of the road section, preparing it for the next bold racer to hit the pedal for the King of the Hill title.
Two fire trucks were on scene at the Knox Mountain accident to put out the smoke smoldering from the Ford Mustang GTO.
(JULIE WHITTET /InfoTel Multimedia)
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013