Chadley Theron saved Ruan Heynse from a burning car. Photo: Solly Lottering

Cape Town - On his birthday, a tow truck driver gave a man the gift of life when he saved him from a burning car.

Ruan Heynse, 25, lost consciousness when he crashed his car on the N1 near Kraaifontein on Saturday.

Lucky for him, tow truck driver Chadley Theron was close by at another accident scene and rushed over.

Theron, who turned 37 on Saturday, said that : “When I got there, the car was on fire. I tried to open the driver’s side door, but nothing happened.

“My face was hot from the heat, but I ran to the passenger door and luckily I could get it open.”

Theron grabbed the unconscious Heynse by the shoulders and tried to pull him to safety, but his foot was stuck.

“I kept thinking the car could explode any moment,” said Theron. “Then I immediately called the ambulance and fire department.”

Heynse gained consciousness just as the ambulance arrived.

He was able to give Theron his address and the tow truck driver raced off to inform his family.

Shocked mother Hanlie Heynse gave her son’s medical aid details and Theron took the vital information back to the medical personel on the scene.

A relieved Heynse’s mom later sent Theron a message of heartfelt thanks from her son’s hospital bedside where she says he is recovering well.

Heynse’s right leg is broken above the knee and he sustained burn wounds to his other leg.

His emotional mom says she thanks the Lord that He sent Theron to save her son.

“The driver gave us a huge gift on his birthday,” she said.

Heynse’s relieved ouma Anell said that she knew something was wrong when they got a call telling them about the incident.

But the 72-year-old said thanks to Theron, tragedy has been averted.

“That wonderful man Chadley saved our boy’s life,” she said. “What he did was wonderful and a great gift to our family.”

And a proud Theron added: “I will never forget what I did on my birthday.”

* This article was published in the Daily Voice