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Northern NSW : Rescue Spring 2016
Cover Story - On the road again ‘ Thank god for the storms I ’spose,’ said Ben McCauley in relation to the east coast low that lashed the Hunter in April 2015. ‘ I’d normally wear thongs to pack the van but I was slipping everywhere because of the rain and I changed into really thick-soled shoes. It probably saved my foot.’ Ben was on tour with his band Good Corn Liquor when three of them were involved in a road accident on the New England Highway at Rix’s Creek northwest of Singleton. When an oncoming car crossed the highway and hit them the band’s singer, Stu McKenzie, was tragically killed, with Ben and bass player, Nick Wright, badly injured. ‘ I’d broken most of the bones in my right leg and it was looking very weird,’ said Ben. ‘ It was fairly chaotic.’ ‘ I tried to be as composed as possible even though I was in great pain. Considering where we were, the chopper got there quick.’ ‘ Once they got there it was all sort of OK,’ he said. ‘I was in the second chopper and it was straight to the John Hunter. I remember the crew guy very well. He was very cool and very kind. We had a discussion about guitars. ‘ When I was talking to him about guitars, in my haze, I think I told him I loved him. He goes “I love you too,” which was pretty cute.’ Ben’s operation lasted 14 hours and he has learnt to walk properly again, albeit with a slight limp. Therapy has been psychological as well as physical, which includes getting back into the routine of life. The Newcastle Museum was happy to provide Ben with some shifts and in an extraordinary coincidence, the 40-year anniversary Rescue Helicopter exhibition was mounted as Ben started working there, almost a year to the day of his flight with the Service. Good Corn Liquor had wowed crowds at the 2015 Australasian Country Music Festival in Tamworth in January, but the tragic accident placed their 2016 feature act shows in limbo. The band was held in such high regard the cream of Australian country music took turns in joining the remaining members to allow them to complete their gig commitments. The finale was a classic and the Namoi Valley Independent reported ‘with the crowd screaming for more, Ben McCauley went to town on Good Corn Liquor favourite The Bird to finish a truly great show’. Ben McCauley 3 Rescue Magazine SPRING 2016
Rescue Winter 2016