Avenue Range farmer Hugh Bainger describes entering bunker to escape Lucindale fire’s flames

When an out-of-control bushfire took off in South Australia’s south-east on Monday afternoon, farmer Hugh Bainger decided to stay and protect his property.

But as the fire rapidly travelled from Blackford towards Mr Bainger’s property at Avenue Range, west of Lucindale, he knew there was no escaping it.

“I realised there was no chance of it not coming to the homestead,” he said.

Using a garden hose to extinguish some vines that had caught alight on his house, Mr Bainger soon realised he could no longer withstand the heat.

“I thought the safest thing was to come here and get in the bunker. I did that for quarter of an hour, 20 minutes,” he said.

While he bunkered down, the fire raged outside.

“There were a few explosions in the sheds when they all caught fire, the gas bottles and a tyre,” Mr Bainger said.

“It made me think of what it must be like in a war when people are getting shot at and they’ve got to stay inside, or bombs are coming down.”

Mr Bainger eventually heard a truck overhead and emerged from the bunker to assess the damage.

Miraculously, his house had survived, but he estimated about a third of his 6,000-hectare property had been destroyed, and with that, hundreds of livestock.

“I don’t know how many livestock we’ve lost yet but it’s really cruel, it’s awful.”

SA Police earlier said there were “significant losses” to livestock and fencing.

The CFS estimates there have been ‘significant’ livestock losses in the bushfire.(ABC: Lincoln Rothall)

Couple loses ‘all worldly possessions’

Neil Watts, 70, and his wife Chris were holidaying at nearby Boatswain Point when their son called to say their family home of 40 years was alight.

A man with white hair kneels in front of his destroyed house.
Neil Watts lost his home of 40 years at Avenue Range when the bushfire swept through.(ABC: Lincoln Rothall)

“We got a phone call about 4 o’clock, saying that somebody had driven past and they’d seen the house was smouldering,” Mr Watts said.

“So we left Boatswain Point and came straight here, and that’s when we found the place on fire, just about flames everywhere … couldn’t do much about it.”

The home was completely destroyed by the blaze, leaving the family with just the clothes they took on their trip.

“For me, it’s a bit of a numb feeling, what can you do when your whole house is on fire?” Mr Watts said.

“It might take a bit longer to sink in, to realise you’ve lost everything that you’ve had for 40 years … all your worldly possessions.”

A house completely blackened by fire, with collapsed roof and blown windows.
Neil Watts and his wife, Chris, lost everything in the bushfire.(ABC: Sarah Mullins)

Mr Watts said he and his wife would stay in their holiday shack at Boatswain Point until they “figured out” where to live.

The CFS has confirmed at least three other homes in Lucindale were lost, with several more structures impacted.

Thousands still without power

SA Power Networks said the fire had potentially destroyed up to 80 kilometres of electricity lines, and was working as quickly as possible to check on its infrastructure and restore power to more than 3,000 affected customers.

By midday, the electricity distributor had installed a generator at Kingston, restoring power to about 400 customers, including the local hospital.

SA Power’s manager of corporate affairs, Paul Roberts, warned that high levels of solar generation in the region could hinder the restoration of power.

“We do have a problem there when we get to the middle of the day on a day like today, we’re going to get a lot of solar, so we’re asking people in Kingston to turn their invertors off,” Mr Roberts said.

“That will assist us in keeping supply to the hospital and getting supply to the service station.”

A service station appears scorched by fire.
A service station in Lucindale was damaged by the bushfire.(ABC: Lincoln Rothall)

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Family jumps into Murray River to escape boat fire near Blanchetown

A family of four have escaped a boat fire on the Murray River north-east of Adelaide last night.

The Country Fire Service (CFS) was called to Paisley, near Blanchetown, about 7:00pm with reports the family had jumped off the boat while it was still burning.

The father was airlifted to the Royal Adelaide Hospital with minor burns.

Also in the state’s Riverland, fire investigators will travel to Renmark today to determine the cause of a house fire early this morning.

Crews were called to the blaze at the recently vacated house on Kurrajong Avenue about 4:00am.

The fire was brought under control within an hour, with the initial estimated cost of damage about $200,000.

And police have arrested one teenage boy and are looking for another after a grass fire at Flinders University about midnight.

Security spotted two people in the area and a police dog located house keys with a tag with an address on it.

A 17-year-old boy who police say matched the security guard’s description turned up and was arrested.

He was charged with causing a bushfire. Police are still looking for another boy.

The Murray River at Blanchetown.(Supplied: Bart Lengs)

Fire danger warnings

Total fire bans are in place in much of South Australia today with temperatures in some parts of the state forecast to reach the low 40s.

An extreme fire danger warning is forecast for the lower south-east, while severe fire danger warnings are in place for the rest of the state, excluding the northern pastoral districts.

While there are no catastrophic fire danger warnings, CFS state duty commander Brenton Hastie warned against complacency in the heat, strong winds and dry conditions.

“We had a slower start to the fire season this year, but we’re now into January.

“The fuel is now completely cured, which means fires have the potential to burn at their maximum.”

Pool chemical explosion

Also last night, the CFS responded to a small explosion in a pool shed at Humbug Scrub.

The service said it happened after a man added two different types of chlorine tablets to the system.

He was transported to hospital after having a reaction to the exposure.

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6 California inmates escape jail using homemade rope to descend walls, police say

Police are searching for the men, including one who is charged with murder.

Police in central California are on the hunt for six men they say escaped from a jail late Saturday night by scaling down its walls from the roof with homemade rope.

The Merced County Sheriff’s Office said the inmates, who range from 19 to 22 years old, were first spotted missing from their cells before midnight. Officers determined they were able “to gain access to the roof of the facility and utilize a homemade rope to scale down the side of the jail,” the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post.

The fugitives who escaped from the Merced County Sheriff’s Office Jail have been identified and described as the following:

Fabian Cruz Roman, 22, 5-feet, 6-inches tall and 155 pounds, was in jail for a charge of murder, according to the sheriff’s office.

Gabriel Francis Cornado, 19, 5-feet, 10-inches tall and 225 pounds, was in jail for charges of attempted murder, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, participation in a criminal street gang, felon in possession of a firearm and violation of probation, the sheriff’s office said.

Manuel Allen Leon, 21, 5-feet, 10-inches tall and 165 pounds, was in jail for charges of assault with a firearm, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, evading a peace officer-reckless driving, participation in a criminal street gang and carrying a loaded firearm, according to the sheriff’s office.

Andrews Nunez Rodriguez Jr., 21, 5-feet, 7-inches tall and 145 pounds, was in jail for charges of attempted murder, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, participation in a criminal street gang and possession of a firearm, the sheriff’s office said.

Edgar Eduardo Ventura, 22, 5-feet, 11-inches tall and 129 pounds, was in jail for charges of felon in possession of a firearm, participation in a criminal street gang and violation of probation, the sheriff’s office said.

Jorge Barron, 20, 5-feet, 5-inches tall and 140 pounds, was in jail for a charge of violation of probation, the sheriff’s office said.

A task force has been created to find the fugitives, and anyone with information is asked to call 911, the sheriff’s office said.

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Police arrest man whose alleged escape led to Lake Burley Griffin search

Police have arrested a man days after he allegedly jumped into Lake Burley Griffin to evade them, sparking a heavy search of the area in central Canberra.

Joe Daniel Rose, 29, allegedly made the bid for escape after police chased him after an earlier incident involving a stolen car.

But police say officers did not give chase when he jumped into the lake near Kings Avenue Bridge shortly after 1:15am on Monday.

According to officers, he was last seen in the water about 100 metres from the shore and appeared to be struggling to stay afloat.

His disappearance in the water sparked a large police search over the eastern part of the lake, with residents of the nearby Kingston Foreshore woken by a rescue helicopter before dawn.

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Residents of Kingston Foreshore saw a helicopter hovering over the search area.

For days, police were unable to locate the man, and it was unclear whether he had escaped or drowned.

But on New Year’s Eve, police executed a search warrant in Kambah, which led to the arrest of a 29-year-old man.

Blood on taser links Rose to scene, police say

According to police documents tendered in court, the pursuit began earlier in the evening when officers followed a car they believed was stolen to Hackett.

There they brought the car to a halt by puncturing its tyres, but the occupants — two women — got out and attempted to get into another car, which police say was being driven by Mr Rose.

Police apprehended the two women, but the car allegedly being driven by Mr Rose drove off after police fired a taser at the driver.

According to the documents, police followed the car to Kings Avenue Bridge, where the man and woman got out, with the man fleeing towards the lake.

When police examined dried blood found on taser prongs in the car, preliminary results found Mr Rose’s DNA.

Police allege that after making it out of the lake, Mr Rose stole a man’s wallet from his car and used a credit card to book a taxi, which picked him up from Hotel Realm in Barton, on the far side of the lake from where he entered.

Mr Rose applied for bail in the ACT Magistrates Court, charged with driving a car at police, failing to stop, theft, obtaining property by deception and driving while disqualified.

The court heard Mr Rose had been battling “decades-long drug abuse problems” before the alleged offending.

Mr Rose’s lawyer Kate Gunther argued her client should be granted bail in order to attend a rehabilitation centre on the NSW Central Coast, saying incarceration would diminish his chances of overcoming drug addiction.

“If someone like this doesn’t get rehabilitation, they’re left on a revolving door in and out of courts and the justice system,” Ms Gunther told the court.

“It is better for both the community and Mr Rose to go down the residential rehab path while it’s available”.

But Magistrate Glenn Theakston refused bail, citing Mr Rose’s “history of serious escape and dishonesty offences”.

In denying the bail application, Mr Theakston said the alleged offending “involved a willingness to do almost anything to avoid capture”.

Mr Rose’s case will return to court later this month.

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Adelaide Remand Centre fined $100,000 for prisoner Jason Burdon’s clothes rope escape

The South Australian Government has fined the privately operated Adelaide Remand Centre $100,000 over the escape of prisoner Jason Burdon last month.

Police said Mr Burdon fled from the maximum security prison’s kitchen area on the morning of December 1, using items of clothing as a rope to climb out of a metal louvre window.

They said he got away on a stolen electric bicycle and then allegedly stole a four-wheel drive from West Lakes Shore and was recaptured, 15 kilometres south of the city, more than 24 hours later.

The 33-year-old pleaded guilty to the escape, but not guilty to resisting arrest.

Police and Correctional Services Minister Vincent Tarzia today announced the prison’s private operator, Serco, had been fined $100,000 for allowing the escape to occur.

“The punishment is fitting because we’ve made it very clear to Serco that any escape is completely and utterly unacceptable,” Mr Tarzia said.

“We’re taking this very, very seriously.”

Items of clothing tied together hung from the exterior of the Adelaide Remand Centre after prisoner Jason Burdon escaped in early December.(ABC News: Alina Eacott)

Mr Tarzia said Serco, the Department for Correctional Services and SA Police were each conducting reviews into how the escape had occurred.

He said “remedial works” has been conducted on the prison to prevent further escapes and he was receiving regular updates from his department on the situation.

Mr Tarzia said prisoners had not been let back into the kitchen area since the escape.

The State Opposition said the Government was taking too long to release the findings of the department’s review.

Mugshot of prisoner Jason Burdon.
Jason Burdon pleaded guilty to escaping from the Adelaide Remand Centre in December.(SA Police)

“A month later, we’re still waiting for answers,” Labor correctional services spokesperson Lee Odenwalder said.

“South Australians deserve to know how this dangerous prisoner was allowed to escape, they deserve to know why it took 25 minutes for the police to be called, but most of all they need some assurance of why this won’t happen again.”

But Mr Tarzia described the criticism as “rank hypocrisy”.

Soon after the escape, Public Sector Association (PSA) general secretary Nev Kitchin argued that “privately run prisons simply don’t work”.

“We’re looking at multinational companies, we’re looking at fewer staff, we’re looking at inferior training, we’re looking at more assaults occurring in the private prisons, we’re looking at more contraband getting into the private prisons, and we’re looking at overall reduced safety,” he said.

But Mr Tarzia said today that “there is nothing before me to suggest that the staffing level was inadequate at that particular location”.

Mr Burdon did not apply for bail and will face court again in January.

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Still no answers over prisoner’s broad daylight escape

On the one month anniversary of the incident, in which a prisoner escaped from the Adelaide Remand Centre by bending window louvres in the kitchen area, before scaling down a wall in rope made from pants and a T-shirt, the Opposition has called for answers.
Jason Burdon, 33, was apprehended and arrested, a day and a half after his daring escape, that had occurred just before 10am on December 2 2020.He was apprehended after SA Police called in STAR Group officers and a helicopter, and followed the car to an Eden Hills property where Burdon allegedly rammed a police car while trying to escape.He was arrested at the scene and taken to hospital for minor injuries, while no officers were injured.

Opposition correctional services spokesman Lee Odenwalder said South Australians deserved to know how a dangerous prisoner was able to so easily escape from the privatised facility.“We need to know what went wrong so we can prevent another escape in the future,” Mr Odenwalder said.“We know that the private company Serco has slashed jobs at the Adelaide Remand Centre.“How was this prisoner was left alone long enough to plan and execute his escape?“Has the Minister made any operational changes, or addressed any of the staffing shortages since the escape?”Police Minster Vincent Tarzia said he was continuing to get updates from the Department of Correctional Services with “thorough and comprehensive investigations” continuing.“I have met with Serco on a number of occasions including with the CEO of Serco Asia Pacific,” Mr Tarzia said.“Serco is under no illusion of the Government’s expectations.”Serco, the company tasked with keeping Adelaide Remand Centre secure, could be fined $100,000 after the Houdini-style escape.

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Police search Lake Burley Griffin for man who tried to escape capture | The Canberra Times

news, crime, lake burley griffin, police, helicopter, jerrabomberra wetlands, police at lake burley griffin

Police are searching for a man who jumped into Lake Burley Griffin in a bid to escape capture in the early hours of Monday morning. Residents of Campbell were woken early by the presence of a low-flying helicopter as an intense search began on Lake Burley Griffin for the man. About 1.15am, officers followed a car to the shores of Lake Burley Griffin. It carried people suspected to be involved in property crime and who had earlier failed to stop for police. A man and woman fled the car when police arrived. The woman was found and arrested a short time later. Police chased the man and he jumped into Lake Burley Griffin. He was last seen about 100 metres from the water’s edge near Kings Avenue. In an attempt to find him, police boats and the Toll SouthCare Rescue helicopter were called in and a police forward command post was established down by the Boat House, on the lake’s northern shore. Areas of the lake near the Boat House were cordoned off to cyclists and walkers. ACT Fire and Rescue and the ACT Ambulance were also in attendance. The man is yet to be found and police divers were seen lowering grapples into the lake water on Monday morning at first light. Detective Superintendent Scott Moller said police were seeking to confirm the man’s identity. “Visibility at that time of the morning was poor, so we also undertook a thorough search of the area that he was last seen to find more information about the incident,” Detective Superintendent Moller said. “There are several persons of interest who we have identified as connected to this incident, and will be continuing our inquiries, which includes speaking to witnesses. “I expect there will be further charges laid in the future.” The car in which the man had been travelling has been seized by police. Two other women also connected to this incident were arrested by police. All three women faced the ACT Magistrates Court on Monday. “I’d encourage anyone who has information to come forward to help with our investigation,” Detective Superintendent Moller said. Anyone with information that could help police is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or via the Crime Stoppers ACT website and quote reference 6703239. Information can be provided anonymously.



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Woman found after WA quarantine escape

A woman has been caught by police after she fled quarantine in Perth amid an uptick of coronavirus cases in returned overseas travellers.

Jenny Maree D’ubios hadn’t completed mandatory 14-day quarantine after recently arriving from oveseas when she left her accomodation on Saturday.

The 49-year-old was last seen walking on Adelaide Terrace in Perth about 10.20am.

West Australian police said they had found Ms D’ubois in a statement about 1.40am on Sunday.

Her escape came as six new coronavirus cases emerged in hotel quarantine in WA on Saturday.

Four women and two men tested positive with all cases related to overseas travel, WA’s Department of Health said.

That brought the number of active cases in the state to 13.

The total number of COVID-19 infections recorded in Western Australia is 854, with 832 people having recovered.

A total of 452 people visited coronavirus clinics in the state on Christmas Day.

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Macarthur FC recruits Beñat Extaberria and Markel Susaeta on their escape from COVID-crippled Spain

But the Bulls believe they have signed a player with the potential to take the A-League by storm in Beñat, a cultured midfielder likened to Xabi Alonso who was once a target of Liverpool, Arsenal and both Manchester clubs.

Their recruitment flies in the face widespread assumptions that it would be difficult for teams to attract high-quality foreigners because of the A-League’s reduced salary cap.

Macarthur FC’s high-profile Spanish signing Beñat Etxebarria has hit the training paddock.

“I won’t lie, I’m excited by Beñat, like a lot of other people. I don’t think people realise his pedigree and what sort of player’s come to Australia,” said Sam Krslovic, Macarthur’s sporting and operations director.

“This scaremongering that was going on, that we’re not going to get players or lose talent – it’s actually been the reverse, we’ve got better quality talent. The quality of the foreigner in the A-League this season, overall, is by far and away the best it’s been in a long time.

“I’ve got a lot of friends in Europe – Italy, Spain, Portugal. They’re in a lot of hurt over there, it’s a bad situation. The economy’s taken hits, players aren’t getting paid, these players can’t move freely, they live virtually under house arrest.

“So they’re coming to Australia for lifestyle and basically, freedom – for their kids, for themselves, their families. And that’s what we need, for those players to teach the young boys, to show them the way.”


Susaeta, 33, initially had to convince Beñat of the merits of the A-League, given he had never played outside of Spain before, but said it helped that Australia was the “perfect place” to ride out COVID-19.

“At first, maybe he was a little scared. It’s a new experience for him, but we continued talking, and finally we are here,” Susaeta said.

“Beñat is a very good midfielder, a very good technician. For ball possession, he is the perfect man. The people will see, in the next matches.

“We are very happy to have freedom and very excited to start the season with this new club. I was happy in Melbourne, the plan was to stay here, but the pandemic didn’t improve.

“I was so sad, but my family and I, we wanted to come back because it is the perfect place for this moment.”

Beñat, 33, said he was after a “new experience” for himself and his family, and that the presence of Susaeta – who he played alongside for seven seasons in La Liga – sweetened the deal.

“I saw a few games from last season,” he said through Susaeta, his makeshift translator. “I think the A-League will be competitive, and beautiful.”

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Romain Grosjean: Driver was ‘at peace’ with dying in F1 fire – but thoughts of Lauda and his kids helped him escape | World News

Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean has told Sky he was “at peace” with dying during the 28 seconds he was trapped in his burning car, following a horrific crash at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The 34-year-old Frenchman miraculously escaped with minor burns after his Haas car was sliced in half by a safety barrier and burst into flames during last Sunday’s race.

He said the thought of his children – and also what happened to F1 legend Niki Lauda – gave him the strength to finally escape.

In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports, he described the moment he realised his car was on fire after hitting barriers at around 137mph (220kmh).

Grosjean pictured in his hospital bed with injuries to his hands
A fire is pictured following the crash of Romain Grosjean of France
The crash happened at the Bahrain GP

Grosjean told Sky F1’s Martin Brundle: “The first thing I did was undo the seatbelt, try to remove the wheel – which was gone, so at least one less concern – and then try to jump out.

“I hit something on top of my helmet, so I sit back down and thought I must be upside down up against the barrier, so I’ll wait until they come and help me.

“I looked to my right, looked to my left, and it was all orange. That’s strange, I thought… Then I realised it was fire. So I knew I didn’t have time until they come.”

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Moment F1 driver escapes inferno

Wreckage of Haas F1's French driver Romain Grosjean's car is removed during the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in the city of Sakhir on November 29, 2020. (Photo by HAMAD I MOHAMMED / POOL / AFP) (Photo by HAMAD I MOHAMMED/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The car was sliced in half by the high-speed crash into a barrier

However, despite repeated efforts, Grosjean said he couldn’t find a way out of the car.

He considered giving up but then thought about Niki Lauda, who suffered severe burns while trapped in his car at Germany’s Nurburgring in 1976.

“I said, ‘I can’t finish like Niki, I can’t finish like this. It cannot be my last race’.”

However, he still couldn’t find a way out.

He added: “So I tried again, I’m stuck… I was almost at peace with myself, thinking, I’m dead. I will die.

Niki Lauda has died aged 70
Grosjean said he thought about Niki Lauda when he was trapped
Lauda nearly died at the Germany GP in 1976

“And then, I don’t know if that moment allowed me to recover a bit, try to think of another solution, but I thought about my kids. [Grosjean has three] and I said, no.

“I cannot die today. For my kids, I cannot die today.

“Then I start to twist my head, go up and turn my body. It worked.”

Describing the moment he got free, he said: “I jump on the barrier, then I feel Ian [Roberts, FIA medical delegate] that pulls on my overall and that is an extraordinary feeling.

“When he pulls me, I know there’s someone with me. I’m alive.”

The first responders to Grosjean said they immediately knew the Frenchman had – miraculously- avoided a serious injury. He was taken to the medical centre afterwards.

He spent three nights at the Bahrain Defence Force (BDF) hospital after the accident but has now left.

He will remain in the country to continue private treatment for his burns.

The full interview will be aired during the build-up on Sunday for the Sakhir GP – from 3.30pm on Sky Sports F1.

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