Two men who leapt from a moving van just seconds before it exploded in flames described how they thought they were going to die.

Dale McSkimming, 21, and Omar Wright, 24, were on their way to a party when the van they were in caught light.

They described how they jumped for their lives in Middle Road, Shoreham, at 3.20pm on Friday, November 9.

Mr Wright told how they had fireworks in the back of the van when he decided to light a cigarette.

He said: “As soon as I sparked it, the van went ‘bang’.”

Both men leapt from the van and it continued up the road for several seconds before smashing into a lamppost.

Mr Wright said it “blew up” and the fireworks started going off as they raced off.

He said: “I was that hot I ran about a mile to my friend’s house and they chucked water over me.”

His arms were blistered in the incident but his tattoos were not burnt off. Mr McSkimming broke his wrist.

Wall of fire

Yesterday (November 15) Mr Wright said: “I feel lucky to alive.

“It was like a film. There was a wall of fire but as I jumped out I thought: ‘I’m not dying’.

“It was a freak accident and we nearly died.”

Carpenter Mr McSkimming, of Shoreham, added: “My face was on fire and I leapt from the van. As I jumped I broke my wrist.

“I didn’t know where Omar was. I thought he might be still in the van.

“The van crashed into the pole and it went up in flames.

“I thought I might die. It was only because we had the windows open in the van that we got out.”

Afterwards Mr McSkimming was taken to Worthing Hospital while Mr Wright was taken to Royal Sussex County Hospital and then the specialist burns unit at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead.

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