Friday January 29, 2016

'He would have been ketchup tomatoes, squashed, dead' But this driver survived

A still image of the four-vehicle crash in Windsor, Ontario taken from surveillance video at Ali Mansour's garage.

A still image of the four-vehicle crash in Windsor, Ontario taken from surveillance video at Ali Mansour's garage. (Ali Mansour)

Listen 6:12

Ali Mansour was in his office at his garage in Windsor, Ontario when he looked through the window and saw chaos on the road in front of him.

If he had had his seatbelt on, he would have been ketchup, he would have been tomatoes, he would have been squashed, he would have been dead. He got another life.
- Ali Mansour, who helped at the scene of a four-car collision

"I saw this big bang of cars going into each other with a lot of smoke and debris," he tells As It Happens host Carol Off. "That's when I realized something big is happening."

Ali Mansour

Ali Mansour came to the help of several people injured in a collision outside his shop in Windsor, Ontario. (Facebook)

He immediately ran outside to help. He saw a black pickup truck that was completely destroyed. He decided there was nothing he could do to help anyone inside, the damage was so extensive.

Instead, he checked on a white minivan, in case some of the passengers were children. The couple inside were OK.

Next he and his colleagues pried open the door on a black car. They could hear screams inside, but couldn't see anyone because the air bags had inflated. Mansour pushed the bags aside and found an elderly couple, injured but alert.

The driver of a white van had a bump on his head, but said he was all right.

Windsor crash still 2

A surveillance camera at Ali Mansour's garage captured the collision as it unfolded. (Ali Mansour)

Finally, Mansour turned back to the black pickup.

"I'm looking. I'm afraid I'm going to see blood everywhere," he says. "The way the truck was mangled and destroyed, nobody would survive an accident like that."

But when he peered in the cab, he didn't see anything. He found the driver lying on the ground in front of the hood, trying to get up. Mansour told him to stay still, fearing that, if the man was injured, he would make things worse by moving.

Windsor crash close-up

(Ali Mansour)

Then the truck began to spew smoke. Mansour ran inside his garage and got a fire extinguisher to put out the flames.

He believes the driver of the truck was not wearing a seatbelt — and it saved his life.

"If he had had his seatbelt on, he would have been ketchup, he would have been tomatoes, he would have been squashed, he would have been dead. He got another life."

Ali Mansour 2

Ali Mansour says he would have become a firefighter, like his father and uncles, if he hadn't decided as a young man to pursue competitive boxing. (Facebook)

Mansour has no special first aid training. But he comes from a family of firefighters: his father, his uncles and his cousins. Instead of following the same path, he moved to Canada from Lebanon in 1999 on a boxing scholarship. He says he's glad he and his staff were able to help out.

"I don't think we did much, but I'm hoping it made a little difference and I'm happy that nobody died."

Mansour's story reminded us of another driver who survived an incredible crash. Last year, we reached Kaleb Whitby (below). Take a listen to his interview here

Squeezed driver

Kaleb Whitby got out of this tight squeeze with only two band-aids. (Sergi Karplyuk)