Pregnant woman rescued

Mullumbimby RFS members Neville McLean and Leah Ross used their 4WD truck to get through swollen causeways to a pregnant woman at Upper Wilsons Creek yesterday.
Mullumbimby RFS members Neville McLean and Leah Ross used their 4WD truck to get through swollen causeways to a pregnant woman at Upper Wilsons Creek yesterday. JAY CRONAN

A HEAVILY pregnant Mullumbimby woman was left stranded by floodwaters as she went into labour after a torrential overnight downpour cut roads early yesterday morning.

Whether or not the 250mm heavenly deluge induced the baby into birthing mode, it stranded the Mullumbimby mum-to-be and her partner at their Upper Wilsons Creek home, seven flooded cause-ways from the local hospital.

Byron Shire State Emergency Service controller Noel McAviney was alerted at 5am by SES headquarters and the midwives at Mullumbimby Hospital.

“It was still dark and raining heavily at that stage so we couldn’t do anything,” he said.

“I told them as soon as it was daylight we’d get out and have a look at the crossings.

“I stayed in close contact with the hospital, and a neighbour who was relaying information about the mum and the floodwaters.

“At that stage her waters had broken and contract-ions had started.”

At 7.30am Mr McAviney met an ambulance at the first causeway and confirmed the creek was too treacherous to cross with a standard SES 4WD vehicle.

He then called in the Rural Fire Service and their 12.5 tonne 4WD truck.

Mullumbimby Rural Fire Service firefighters Nev McLean and Leah Rossarrived soon after and checked the causeway on foot.

Once cleared to proceed, they picked up the para-medics and headed up into the hills, arriving at the couple’s house around 10am.

“I think they were pretty happy to see us,” Mr McLean said.

While the local RFS is often called to rescue residents stranded in flash floods, this was their first call-out to awoman in labour.

Mrs Ross said they weren’t sure what to expect when called out.

“We were fighting over who wasn’t going to deliver thebaby,” she laughed.

“I must say we were pretty happy to see the ambos when we got to the first crossing.

“The best bit was the directions we got. They said follow the signs to the baby shower and sure enough, there were signs all the way.”

Long time RFS firefighter Mr McLean was somewhat nervous about the return trip.

“I was trying to miss all the bumps in the road on the way back. The contractions were about three minutes apart, but I’ve got to say she was very calm.”

The woman was transferred to the waiting ambulance and arrived without incident at Mullumbimby Hospital about 11.30am.

When asked what they thought the baby should be named, the firefighters were reluctant to offer their own names.

“If it’s a boy they could call him Rufus, after the RFS,” Mr McLean quipped.

Mr McAviney described it as a great combined emergency service effort.

He called back at the hospital yesterday afternoon to check on mum and was told the labour was progressing well.

“We all like to follow up and make sure everyone’s okay,” he said.

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