Acting Sergeant Mark Johnston, Constable Ken Wilkinson and Constable Steve Buchanan at the site where they rescued a couple fro
Acting Sergeant Mark Johnston, Constable Ken Wilkinson and Constable Steve Buchanan at the site where they rescued a couple fro

Police to the rescue, and again ...

By HELEN JACK helen.jack@northernstar.com.au FOUR Casino police officers risked their lives on Saturday night to pull four people out of raging floodwaters in separate incidents.

Acting Sergeant Mark Johnston and Constables Ken Wilkinson, Steve Buchanan and Claire Beek received a call to help Trevor Sheriff, 66, and Lyn Rawlison, 37, both of Casino, whose car had been washed off the Bruxner Highway at Clovass and down an embankment.

It was 11.20pm when the police officers arrived at the scene and tried to drive towards the pair, who had escaped from their car and were clinging to its roof.

But the quick moving, metre-high floodwaters stopped them. Constable Buchanan returned to town for a rope.

On his return the officers linked arms and waded into the waist-deep, quick-moving floodwaters.

"It was scary because it was dark and raining so hard," Const Wilkinson said.

"The water was brown and you could not see anything." Sgt Johnston said they held on to each other as they tossed the rope to Ms Rawlison, pulling her to%safety first.

"We told her to wrap the rope around her waist and we pulled her towards us," he said.

"When she was only two metres away we lunged into the water and grabbed her."

Sgt Johnston said the surge of the water created waves, making the rescue even more difficult.

Mr Sheriff was dragged to safety in the same way, but cold and exhaustion had taken its toll.

He was unable to keep his head above water or use his legs.

"At one point all we could see of him was his hand on the rope," Sgt Johnston said.

"As soon as we could reach him we grabbed him and pulled him up."

During the rescue Casino's SES and Vehicle Rescue Squad arrived to help.

Mr Sheriff said they were trapped in the cold floodwaters for two hours.

"It was two hours of terror," he said. "The water was too powerful to stand on the roof so we sat on the roof and hung on for grim death and yelled out so passing cars would stop.

"I have never been so cold in my life, and the water was roaring louder than any waterfall."

Mr Sheriff said by the time the police had arrived the floodwaters had risen to their shoulders.

"The memories of that night are hard to get out of our system," he said.

"It still haunts us as we try to go to sleep. "How do you thank someone for saving your life. How can I ever thank them.

"Whatever I can do for the police or SES I will be on the front line for them."

However, three hours later, the same police officers, as well as Sgt Brad Walpole, were called to the same location where an elderly couple had met the same fate.

"They were towing a trailer and were travelling to a market," Sgt Johnston said.

"They were nearly through the water when their trailer jack-knifed, washing them off the road.

"When we got there the man and woman were sitting in their car.

"The water was up to their waists. "We got them out of the car and walked them to safety.

"Then the SES rescued us, taking us back to our car in their boat

"The VRA and SES did a fantastic job during the floods."



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