Thank God I'm alive: rescued driver thanks Bexhill boys
A BRISBANE man was minutes from drowning inside his car at Bexhill floodwaters yesterday afternoon had it not been for a daring rescue by two young boys and their neighbours.
Butrose Tourky, father of champion Australian diver Loudy Tourky, said without the help of the heroic Bexhill residents who banded together to free him from his car, he would've died.
"If there was no one there, I'd be gone, gone," he said.
The drama was played out as 200 State Emergency Service volunteers responded to more than 150 calls for help in the past 48 hours across the region.
Lismore, Coraki and Bungawalbyn had minor flooding last night, but the Billinudgel and Mullumbimby areas were no longer in flood.
The Wilsons River in Lismore peaked near 7.85 metres around 12.30pm yesterday, causing moderate flooding.
Coraki was expected to peak near 4.2 metres around 4am today causing minor flooding.
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Yesterday, after his ordeal, Mr Tourky said he was on his way from Brisbane to visit friends in Lismore when he heard on a local radio station the Bangalow Road at Bexhill was open to traffic.
He attempted to drive through the two-metre deep water. Within seconds his car was washed away.
The Toyota Camry Altise was almost fully submerged in water as he banged desperately against the jammed automatic windows.
"I couldn't get out and I was in shock.
"I didn't know if I would get through this."
However, his rescuers were close by.
Seeing the trouble Jack Burke, 14, and Simon Cleaver, 12, both Bexhill, swam out to the car and tried to smash the rear passenger window with a log.
Neighbours Dale Batchelor and Bobby McInerney followed the boys into the water as Mr Tourky ripped frantically at the back seat, trying to find a way out of the steadily sinking car.
Mr Batchelor pried open the boot of the car and pushed forward the back seat.
"He (Mr Tourky) was panicking but I told him he had to hold his breath and swim out," Mr Batchelor said.
"The boot was three quarters full of water and the car was almost fully submerged.
"If those two young boys hadn't been there he would've been in big trouble."
The men dragged Mr Tourky to safety and another neighbour, Todd McInerney, winched the car to the side of the road.
After the ordeal, still wet and shaking from shock, Mr Tourky hugged his rescuers gratefully, with sincere promises of beer for everyone.
Yesterday region controller, Scott Hanckel said the flood peak was moving downstream from Lismore.
"We're not aware of any houses that will need to be evacuated at this stage.
"The heavy rain has eased, we're getting the odd shower but they're not going to cause any concerns for major flood."
Mr Hanckel said the Bureau had cancelled flash flooding warnings for the area but warned people should not attempt to cross flood waters.
North Lismore publican Keith Duggan, who owns the Northern Rivers Hotel, was keeping a close watch on the floodwater levels.