Sydney - The first rainy day in weeks of hot summer is being credited with saving perhaps dozens of lives after a runaway car Tuesday careened more than 100m through normally packed Bondi Beach.
The 90-year-old driver was unscathed after mounting the pavement, scattering cafe furniture, demolishing an ATM, crossing a road and plunging down a grassy embankment favoured by local families and foreign backpackers at Sydney's most popular beach.
"Thank goodness it was a rainy day otherwise the fatalities could be many," Bondi Rescue Lifeguards said on their Facebook page.
"Almost unbelievable story at Bondi today a car has come off the road - through the park and 20m onto the beach through railings and everything."
Police said the driver of the Nissan Pulsar had been taken to hospital as a precautionary measure. "It appears the driver missed all other vehicles and pedestrians," police said of the midday incident.
Lifeguard Adriel Young was the first to reach the driver. He told The Sydney Morning Herald the southern end of the beach, where the car bogged down in the sand after leaving Lamrock Place, would have been one of the busiest areas in Sydney on a sunny day.
"If it was yesterday we'd have had thousands of people sun-baking on the sand [and] on the grass area where he would have gone through and in the cafes. We sort of dodged a bullet. We're very lucky."