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Man dies after stepping on power line to rescue girlfriend in car accident


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IN LIFE they were inseparable, best friends who became lovers. Tragically, when death came yesterday it claimed them together, too.

Shawn Whiting, 20, and girlfriend Bronte Fordham had spent the evening at the Mullaley Hotel, near Gunnedah in the state's north, but left in separate cars.

On the way home Ms Fordham lost control of her yellow-coloured Mazda sedan and slammed into a power pole on the Oxley Highway.

Mr Whiting, who left the pub about 30 minutes later, came across the accident.

As he ran from his car to see if he could help her, he stepped on a fallen power line brought down in the crash and was electrocuted.

A passing motorist made the horrific discovery about 1km from the town of Mullaley, where the couple lived, when he saw a Toyota Land Cruiser parked on the side of the road with the motor running and headlights on about 4.30am.

TWO teenagers were lucky to survive a high-speed car accident after their vehicle smashed into a building and a pole after a police pursuit.

Inspector Fred Trench said: "He's got out to investigate and found the body of a male lying on some fallen powerlines."

The motorist called triple-0 and, while waiting for the emergency services to arrive, made another shocking discovery.

"While waiting, he's turned his own vehicle around to shine the headlights, because it was still dark, and he's seen another vehicle about 40m away, lying on its side in a paddock," Insp Trench said.

The witness went over to the wreckage and found the body of Ms Fordham lying beside it.

Friends said the pair had been together at the Mullaley Hotel earlier that night with a group of friends but they set off in separate vehicles after the pub closed.

Police believe the accident which killed Ms Fordham happened about 3.30am, but Mr Whiting did not stumble across it until about 4am and was electrocuted soon after arriving at the scene.

Hotel owner Owen Jerry, , who has known Mr Whiting and Ms Fordham since they were children, said they were two of the best kids in the town.

"Bronte was like a mother to all the young fellas here. She was only 19, but she was like an old hen," Mr Jerry said. "Shawn was the type of bloke who always thanked you before he left, very polite and very level-headed."

On Facebook yesterday, friends of the pair spoke of how life could be so cruel, taking two people far too soon.

"To Shawn and Bronte, rest in peace, we're going to miss you so much," one friend wrote.

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