Amazing That Harris Survived

Not much protection for the driver.  Harris worked as a Hollywood stuntman and his professional skills certainly served him well in these life-threatening moments.

(1-15-09)   From Bob Harris:

"I thought it would never stop flipping. It felt like five people were hitting me as hard as they could with baseball bats. When I was upside down in the air, I remember seeing the ground coming up at me. The car came to rest on top of me. 

You sit between both fuel tanks, and one had burst and soaked me in fuel. I never lost conciousness, but my vision was impaired because of blood in my eyes. I was thinking that the car was going to burst into flames at any moment as the engine was white hot. Of course, the biggest fear would be burning to death. I knew one of my hands was visible from under the car, so I started scratching the dirt as hard as I could to let people know I was alive. 

The next thing I heard was everybody yelling and trying to lift the car off of me. I don't think that anyone is aware of this, but the person who was yelling orders and taking charge of getting me out from under the car, was the national  Indy car champion, Sam Hanks. 

They lifted the car partway and started pulling me out from underneath. The other fuel tank had been damaged and compressed. This caused it to let go and spray fuel everywhere. Thinking that the car was now going to explode, they dropped it on the back of my legs and ran. The radiator return is in the frame, and it was now resting on the back of my legs. It was burning so bad, I thought for sure that I was on fire. I remember hearing Sam Hanks screaming at everybody "Get back and lift this car!" He was really yelling. They pulled me out and I remember them saying that they were going to get me in the ambulance. 

This might sound really odd, but the sensation I remember having was that my chest was split open, and my heart was laying in the dirt, still beating covered in dirt and rocks! That is so far out, that I laugh today when I think about it. I thought I had only moments left to live. 

Davey MacDonald rode in the ambulance with me to the Cottage Hospital. Any big bumps in the road were causing me tremendous pain. I really couldn't talk, but somehow I told Davey that this driver is killing me. Davey started shouting to the driver "Slow down, he can't take the bumps" I think he hit railroad tracks, etc. I heard the driver tell Davey "I'm driving this, not you." Which started an argument for most of the trip to the hospital. They were screaming "What is your religion!" They wanted to give me the last rites. I was laid up for about six months. I had numerous injuries consisting of: Three crushed vertabrae, every rib on my left side was broken, my left lung was torn from the lining, broken left scapula, fractured left knee and ankle, every muscle in my back had been ripped, numerous cuts with stitches on my left arm and hand, and smashed goggles leaving me with a bloody face. The pain from the back injury is with me to this day."

Next:   After the Accident

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