A man with a broken back and hamstring torn off the bone after a horrific motorcycle crash miraculously survived after dragging himself to safety in a five-hour ordeal.
Mark Demosani was thrown over the handle bars of his large adventure bike while taking it for a test ride on December 1 last year around Melton, in Melbourne’s west.
He decided to ride it up to the Melton weir, a place he had visited before and was familiar enough with not to think twice about it.
The 48-year-old didn’t tell his partner where he was going and decided to go alone – a decision that went against advice from workmates and almost left him for dead.
“I went down a road and turned off a little track towards the weir,” the postie told Yahoo News Australia.
He got to the top of a steep dirt hill and remembered riding down on a dirt bike when he was younger so thought he’d tackle it again.
“It was quite steep, steeper than what I imagined, but I thought it looked all right and I could manage,” Mr Demosani said.
“I started to go down the hill and once you’re committed you have got to do it.
“I was about halfway down this hill and it just turned from what I can remember being a manageable hill to total s*** – it turned into a nightmare.”
‘I knew I was in trouble straight away’
As Mr Demosani slowly rode his bike down the hill, it was too heavy to control its speed.
“I couldn’t get it slow enough to negotiate what was ahead of me. My brakes were fighting the engine to slow down and the bike stalled and went into a skid,” he said.
“I knew I was in trouble straight away.
“The bike bottomed out and sprang me over the handlebars. I did a somersault in the air on this steep hill and all I can remember is just hitting the ground – it took a while to get to the ground.”
Mr Demosani rolled down the hill until coming to a stop where he lay paralysed for a short period.
“I did scream. It was very painful. I was trying to get air in my lungs, I must’ve winded myself. That was a bit of a fight,” he said.
As he came to, he realised his right leg was in sheer agony after six centimetres of his hamstring was torn off the bone and his back broken.
He took off his jacket and helmet, threw them away and searched for his bike in the distance. He knew then he had to get to the bike to grab his mobile phone to call an ambulance. This would be the first of many failed attempts for him to get help.
“I had my phone on the bike in a cradle but there was no way known I could walk – not a chance,” he said.
“Any sudden movement in my leg the pain was so intense and I could start feeling my back as well.”
Mr Demosani managed to roll onto his stomach and pull himself the 20 metres towards his bike. It took him about 30 minutes just to make the small distance.
He clutched onto pieces of grass and the edge of nearby rocks, despite every movement being agony.
“Once I got there I went to reach for my phone from the cradle and unfortunately it wasn’t there – I was in no condition to go back and look for it,” he said.
“I knew the phone was gone and I swore and cursed and got on the bike horn for ages and was yelling and screaming. I was in a gully and I knew the sound was going nowhere.”
‘My hand was full of blood’
Mr Demosani knew nobody would find him at the bottom of the hill and his only options were to either die or drag his injured body about 400 metres up the hill back to the main road.
“I look up the hill and I think, ‘how the hell am I going to do that’,” he said.
“I got on my stomach again and started pulling myself up the hill – it’s the easiest way. I was pulling long grass and edges of rocks again and that probably took me two hours.
“Every time I made the wrong move – if I just turned a little bit wrong my leg would kill me and my back would ache. I put my hand to the side of my hip and felt a sting then my hand was full of blood from a big graze on my back.”
When Mr Demosani finally made it to the top of the hill, he could not longer drag himself on the flat surface. He could see lights on in houses in the distance, but was still too far for anybody to hear his cries for help.
“Nobody could hear me and it started to rain. My jacket was at the bottom of the hill and I started to get cold, shaken and thirsty. I thought, ‘I can’t just say here’, so I managed to put myself on my bum and leaned back on my hands and pushed myself with my left leg.
“I started dragging myself backwards, crawling on my hands – they were red raw.”
Mr Demosani could move only a metre at a time before he had to stop as he was in too much pain. He could see the houses getting closer and closer.
He was then noticed by a dog who started to bark at him and Mr Demosani thought this would save his life.
“I kept trying to make him bark more, which he did, but nobody paid attention to him. Eventually I got him to howl – I was howling from the pain and this dog, it felt like he was trying to help me,” he said.
Still, nobody came.
Mr Demosani dragged himself a little further and saw crows in the trees above.
“They must be thinking, ‘I’ll have him when he’s gone’, that was what was going through my mind,” he said.
‘I wanted to give up’
He then saw what he believed would finally be his saving grace – a white car that turned onto the same track he had. Hiding in long grass unable to stand, Mr Demosani waved his hands madly to get the driver’s attention.
The car stopped but the driver was on the phone. With Mr Demosani about 50 metres away, the driver didn’t hear his screams and took off.
Mr Demosani continued to drag himself further, but it was getting harder and he was growing weaker. He then saw another car pull into a nearby house and when they got out he screamed again.
“But I could hear my voice blowing somewhere else. I felt like I wanted to give up but I didn’t, I kept dragging myself towards to main road,” he said.
A black four-wheel-drive then came towards Mr Demosani and stopped as the driver saw him waving his arms and screaming.
“He said, ‘what happened mate’, he was cautious but I told him I had an accident at the bottom of the hill and I couldn’t move my back,” Mr Demosani said.
As Mr Demosani leant against the car wheel, the man made two phone calls – one to a mate to help and another to emergency services.
Mr Demosani then asked if he could call his partner who was at home with no idea where he was, but he couldn’t remember his phone number.
“I was so frustrated. No one knew where I was,” he said.
Ambulance Victoria crews arrived in 10 minutes, according to Mr Demosani, and he was treated for dehydration and hypothermia.
He spent five days in hospital and wore a back brace for six weeks. He is facing a lot of physiotherapy, but hopes to be back riding his motorbike by March.
Warning to motorcyclists about ‘big mistake’
Mr Demosani said his accident was a massive wake-up call and he’s learnt his lesson to never go off-road riding alone again.
“My friend at work tried telling me and I didn’t listen – not because I wanted to ignore him – I just didn’t think it would happen to me,” he said.
“I certainly won’t be going riding like that on my own again, no way – especially without telling anyone – that was a big mistake.”
Mr Demosani says he is lucky to survive.
“I just knew I had to get out of there. It was just instinct I suppose,” he said.
“Your body goes into survival mode and the adrenaline, I was sick from that and had adrenaline overload. I think that’s what helped me get up this hill and get out of there.
“I knew it was a race against time because it was in an isolated area.
“Don’t go riding on your own. It’s plain and simple. Tell people where you are going – there are even more dangers off-road.”
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