Widower’s pain as gold hunting dreams turn to dust – Sunshine Coast Daily

AN ELDERLY widower desperate to live out his final days fossicking for gold is unable to leave the Sunshine Coast after his “perfectly working” car failed its registration test.

Uwe Hetmanska, 77, who lost his wife to cancer last year, said he was about a month away from travelling to Cooktown with his car and caravan when two letters arrived.

He’d been contacted by the Department of Transport and from Mitsubishi informing him his 23-year-old Pajero 4WD could not be registered because of its old airbags.

A spokeswoman for Mitsubishi said his airbags – NADI-5AT – are currently a risk to owners and road users.

Mr Hetmanska said he tried getting the airbags fixed at a Caloundra centre but the company no longer made the parts.

Uwe Hetmanska, 77, has been told his vehicle is not safe to drive but also unable to be fixed putting his fossicking plans in jeopardy. Photo: Warren Lynam

“I have nothing else I want to do. I don’t have my wife any more, I’m not working, I just want to go look for gold,” Mr Hetmanska said.

“I’ve wanted to do this all my life but couldn’t. And now I can, I can’t.

“I’m all ready to go. I have a van with a fridge and all my gear ready.”

The Mitsubishi spokeswoman said they’re working with Mr Hetmanska to complete the evaluation and buy back process so he can get back on the road.

“We understand Mr Hetmanska’s disappointment and frustration related to the recall of his Pajero,” she said.

“We are asking all drivers to check that their airbags are safe, and if their vehicle is part of the buy back to contact us to arrange to have your vehicle inspected as soon as possible.”

The pensioner said he’d never had purchased the car if he saw these problems coming.

He wants his own frustration to be a warning to others. .

“No one will give me a loan, even for a small car and being on the pension, I barely make enough to survive, let alone save,” Mr Hetmanska said.

“The car isn’t faulty at all, it’s been working fine. I think they’re trying to just get old cars off the road and bring new ones in. It’s a money-making scheme.

“I don’t know what to do.”

If you know a way to help Mr Hetmanska, contact the Sunshine Coast Daily by emailing to editorial@scnews.com.au.

To check out if your airbags are faulty, follow this link.