Police and emergency services workers are being praised following a daring rescue which resulted in two young children being saved from a vehicle which had been washed away by floodwaters at Upper Wilsons Creek near Mullumbimby yesterday.
About 11.15pm yesterday (Sunday 3 October 2010), a 42-year-old woman and her two children, aged six and four, were in a Mitsubishi Outlander when it was washed off a causeway about one kilometre north of the intersection of Wilsons Creek Road and Upper Wilsons Creek Road.
The mother managed to get out of the vehicle, however, the Outlander was washed away by floodwaters before she could remove her son and daughter.
Police and other emergency services attended, but due to the height of the floodwaters, it was impossible for vehicles to cross safely.
A local resident assisted in stringing a rope across the causeway, enabling a Senior Constable and two Volunteer Rescue Association (VRA) personnel to cross on foot. The resident then led the police officer and VRA workers to the vehicle, which was trapped downstream about three metres from the river bank in extremely fast flowing water.
The police officer and a VRA worker remained in the water while the resident and a second VRA worker climbed onto the Outlander’s roof and removed the four-year-old boy and six-year-old girl via the sunroof.
The children were then passed from officer to officer until they reached the safety of the river bank.
Acting Northern Region Commander, Detective Superintendent Max Mitchell, has praised the police officer and other rescuers for their bravery and quick-thinking.
“The Senior Constable, two VRA workers and local resident worked together to ensure the incident didn’t end in tragedy,” Det Supt Mitchell said.
“Despite the raging floodwaters, they remained focused on the goal of getting the kids safely out of the vehicle and back into the arms of their traumatised mum.
“I’d like to congratulate the police officer for his actions, and also say thanks to all emergency services teams involved in the operation.”