THE taxi driver who was first at the scene of Sunday’s crash on the A4 has told the Gazette of the horror he witnessed in a vain attempt to rescue four men from a burning car.

The men, named locally as Ryan Nelson, Corey Owen, Matthew Parke and Jordan Rawlings, all in their early 20s, died in the crash.

Their car left the road, ploughed through a hedge and burst into flames in the garden of a house in Old Derry Hill, on the A4 towards Calne.

Huseyin ‘Reg’ Lim had a cab full of four young men returning to Calne from a night out in Chippenham in the early hours of Sunday morning when they saw the flames just off the road.

“It took us a moment to think - why are there flames? We said this can’t be a bonfire, then we thought maybe it is a house fire.”

Seconds later, he pulled up across the A4, put his hazard lights on and ran across the road with his passengers.

They were first at the scene, ahead of the police or any other 999 crews.

“I pushed myself through a gap in the hedge,” said 61-year-old Huseyin, from Pewsham.

“The flames were too strong. We couldn’t help. I was just a couple of metres away. I didn’t know what I could do.

“I got my fire extinguisher but it wasn’t enough. As soon as I fired it more flames took over. All I was thinking was how do we get them out?”

He said one of his passengers, a man in his early 20’s, had been a real hero, trying to wake the house owners even though the blazing car was only feet from their front door.

“He ran to the house and was banging on the door trying to wake the people up and get them out. The others dialled 999.

“At first we could not tell it was a car. The flames were about 20 feet high. Then I could see the car was on its side a few metres from the front of the house. The police arrived really quickly. There were then 11 of us, five with fire extinguishers but it was no good.

“One of the policemen told me to step away. He said “there is nothing we can do now.” He was worried that the car might explode. It was only really then that I realised how serious the situation was.”

An hour and a half later, he dropped his fares home in Calne.

“I went home but I couldn’t sleep. I haven’t slept well since. It comes straight into my mind. I feel so guilty that I couldn’t do anything. I felt helpless. I was just a couple of metres away. I am keeping myself busy during the day - as it helps to not think about it. I am 61 years old, but this was the worst night of my life.

“Think about the families of these poor boys. I cannot imagine what it is like for them. I am so sorry for them. Truly sorry.”

He also wants to get in touch with the young men in his cab that night.

“They were very upset,” he said. “I would like to know that they are OK.”