A father who learned to walk and talk again after he was crushed between a bobcat and a 30-tonne excavator three days before his wedding says his baby daughter helped spark his miraculous recovery.
Tim Smith was using the heavy machinery to clear his property near Toowoomba in Queensland on March 6, 2019, with friends in preparation for his nuptials to his fiancé Kym Smith.
When the bobcat got stuck in the mud the group tried to get it out with an excavator but the now 30-year-old builder wound up sandwiched between the machines.
He almost died while being flown to Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital by rescue helicopter, where he lay coma for weeks with injuries so catastrophic that doctors told Kym, 31, he would either die or survive but in a vegetative state.
Following a gruelling two-year recovery, the couple revealed on Wednesday that they finally tied the knot surrounded by family and friends in February this year.
Tim and Kym Smith (pictured) finally got married two years after a tragic accident where Tim nearly died
Pictured: The bobcat and excavator that almost killed Tim Smith on his Queensland property
‘Kym’s an absolute gem – she stands by me day in, day out so it’s really good to be able to call her my wife,’ Tim told ABC News.
The mother-of-two recalled the harrowing moment two years ago when her brother-in-law Craig called her to say there had been an accident.
Kym was at the gym when she realised she had a missed call, and rang back because she thought he wanted to chat about electrical work in the marquee for the big day.
When she heard the words ‘Tim’s had a really bad accident,’ her world turned upside-down.
‘I cried and yelled at him on the phone and asked him how bad it was. He said, “I don’t know but you’re not allowed to come here”. And so obviously I went,’ she told the publication.
Pictured: The rescue helicopter that saved Tim Smith’s (pictured on a stretcher) life after he was sandwiched between machinery
Pictured: Tim and Kym Smith on their wedding day in February 2021 with children Hudson and Willow
Tim Smith’s wife Kym would take their son Hudson (pictured together) in to see his father in hospital to help his recovery
‘I just kept asking if he was going to die and Craig said “I don’t know, but it’s not going to be good”.’
Tim’s upper body and head injuries were so critical that his wife-to-be was invited to ride in the LifeFlight chopper during the 30-minute ride to Brisbane, to be with him in case he died.
Critical Care Flight Paramedic Stephen Baigrie was in the helicopter on the fateful day and said Tim’s injuries were so extensive that the situation was ‘touch and go’.
‘He had pretty significant head injuries, a fair bit of blood and, you know, that kind of stuff so it was quite confronting,’ he said.
The father spend weeks in a coma, which Kym described as ‘traumatising’.
Tim Smith is pictured with his daughter Willow. The news that he would soon have a little girl helped his recovery
Pictured: Tim and Kym Smith and their children Hudson and Willow with Critical Care Flight Paramedic Stephen Baigrie (centre)
She would bring their young son Hudson into hospital to sit by his bed and talk to him as he slept.
If Hudson couldn’t be there, she recorded the little boy’s voice on her phone to play by his bedside.
After waking up from his coma, the builder spent weeks in the neurology ward before he moved to the brain injury rehabilitation clinic where he spent months re-learning how to walk, talk and do everyday tasks.
Once he was allowed to go back home to Toowoomba, he started doing two therapy sessions per day until January 2020 when he started back at work on a part time basis.
Pictured: Tim and Kym Amith (centre) with the bridal party at their wedding in February this year
Tim’s recovery from January last year was slow, until he learned that Kym was expecting a little girl
Tim and Kym have since welcomed their daughter Willow into the world, and wed in February – almost two years on from the day they originally planned
His recovery from that point was slow, until he learned that Kym was expecting a little girl.
‘That was the probably the main thing that sort of pushed me along … I wanted to be there to raise my daughter,’ he said.
Tim and Kym have since welcomed their daughter Willow into the world, and wed in February – almost two years on from the day they originally planned.
All money gifted by guests was donated to rescue service LifeFlight.
Pictured: Tim and his son Hudson inside the emergency helicopter that saved his life in 2019
‘The fact that Tim and Kym are together again, with another child and can look forward to a happy and healthy life together, is a direct result of LifeFlight,’ Tim said.
The happy couple met Tim’s rescuers on Wednesday, and Mr Baigrie described his recovery as ‘remarkable’.
‘It’s remarkable, actually, to see Tim up and walking around and doing so well. To be able to help give a family that quality of life, it’s great,’ he said.
Tim still suffers from the effects of his injuries, but is thankful he can still go to work part-time.
Pictured: Tim and his daughter Willow with the rescue chopper that saved his life in March 2019