'I was trying not to die': Sankalpa Mahatara breaks silence on Queanbeyan stabbing

Sankalpa Mahatara listened to his lungs rumble as blood gushed from his ruptured chest onto the gravel road.

"I could feel the bubbles in my chest. It was rumbling, like how your stomach does when you're hungry," the 20-year-old said as he recalled the horrific April 7 morning.

"I didn't want to sit there laying in the gutter, just bleeding out.

"Adrenaline kicked in and I knew it was fight or flight."

The 20-year-old man was stabbed on the right side of his chest, in between his fourth and fifth rib. Photo: Supplied.

The 20-year-old man was stabbed on the right side of his chest, in between his fourth and fifth rib. Photo: Supplied.

Doctors say Mr Mahatara was lucky to be alive after two teenagers allegedly stabbed him in the chest beside a Queanbeyan road. A few centimetres to the left, and the wound would likely have been fatal.

Horrific images of the alleged attack nearly a fortnight ago continue to haunt the young man, who is recovering from a punctured lung. But his main concern is for his struggling mother, who he cares for and supports financially since she suffered a serious work injury in 2015.

"I'm stressed because I am not doing what I should be doing, which is helping my mum," he said.

Sankalpa Mahatara is recovering from a punctured lung after a stabbing in Queanbeyan on April 7. Photo: Supplied.

Sankalpa Mahatara is recovering from a punctured lung after a stabbing in Queanbeyan on April 7. Photo: Supplied.

The nightmare began while he was driving from his friend's house in Queanbeyan to his Gungahlin home about 6.30am on April 7. Within half an hour he went from feeling sleepy to overwhelmed with adrenaline as he fought for his life.

Two teenagers allegedly stabbed him and fled with his car and phone.

As he stumbled into the gutter, Mr Mahatara pressed his hand to the wound on the right side of his chest.

"It was like a movie scene. I looked down and hadn't realised how much blood there was," he said.

He could feel his heart race and breaths thin. Knowing time was running out, he found the strength not only to walk, but run up the road in search of a car. After a short time, a white ute pulled up. The two tradesmen inside were speechless when he said he'd been stabbed.

He could not recall how long he waited for police and ambulance after the tradesmen called for help. On arrival paramedics pierced his chest to medicate his punctured lung, which Mr Mahatara described as agonising.

"I remember thinking, I've just been stabbed, and now I'm being stabbed again - this sucks," he said.

"Then the police started asking me all these questions and I was just trying not to die."

Minutes later he fell unconscious. He woke to police officers and doctors huddled around his hospital bed. The embrace with his mother was one he is unlikely to forget.

Two teenage boys, aged 15 and 16, have been charged over the incident, but have not yet entered pleas. The same two boys have been charged with stabbing service station attendant Zeeshan Askbar to death at the Queanbeyan Caltex station about seven hours earlier.

"I keep thinking about how I was able to get away from that situation," Mr Mahatara said.

Mr Mahatara underwent multiple medical procedures before being discharged from Canberra Hospital on April 13. The doctor told him the injury would have likely been fatal if the knife had been longer, or had cut him a few centimetres to the left.

Sitting on his loungeroom couch, he was grateful to be home. Mornings were severely painful. Then came the side effects from the strong pain medication.

The physical recovery was expected to take several months. It was less clear when the psychological scars would fade.

But Mr Maharata was certain he would move past the traumatic experience.

He wanted life to return to normal so he could continue supporting his mother with his earnings as a Gungahlin supermarket attendant.

"Right now, I'm really struggling financially, but I'll get that sorted in due time."

"Otherwise, I just want people to stop worrying, because I don't like that this has affected so many people. I'll be fine."

He believed his tough childhood in Nepal - where he lived until age 10 - contributed to his resilience in the wake of the incident. He does not share the anger his friends express over what happened.

"I don't blame anyone for the situation," he said.

"There is too much anger in this world. Why do we need more?"