An electrician swam out to rescue an old man from an SUV as it floated along in floodwaters in Australia, smashing the window with an ax.
The dramatic rescue in north Queensland on March 7 came as the region was hit by the worst flooding seen in nearly a decade.
After Sam Greenwood spotted the Toyota Rav4 floating along in floodwaters near the city of Cairns, bystanders pointed out that the wipers were still going and that there could be someone inside.
“Long story short, I swam out to the car and found an old man trapped inside had to smash through a window to drag him out,” he wrote on Facebook. “He was very lucky [the] car was still floating”
Greenwood’s facebook post quickly drew attention and praise from many social media users, who dubbed him a hero.
When Greenwood first swam out to the vehicle, he discovered a man in his 60s with his face pushed up against the roof, struggling to breathe, reported Yahoo.
When he couldn’t open the door, Greenwood swam back to his own vehicle, took an axe, swam back, and smashed open the window.
“When I was smashing the window, I was sort of scared that he was going to go under, because he was on the opposite side of the car,” he told The Courier-Mail. “He had to squeeze over the seat to get to me.
“I still don’t know how he was still inside. If that vehicle wasn’t floating, he would have been well and truly gone, poor fella.”
Greenwood warned other motorists to steer clear of floodwater. “Never thought i would say this but if its flooded DONT floor it,” he wrote.
The area has been hit by rainfall of 200 to 250mm (8 to 10 inches) of rain in 24 hours.
Major flood warnings have been issued for the nearby Herbert River, which has been swollen by 300 to 600mm (12 to 23 inches) of rain in the past few days.
Facebook users showered Greenwood with praise.
“Wow…….one very lucky man and a big thanks to you Sam……….so glad that you both are safe but it also shows if its flooded don’t go through it,” wrote Noelene Kerr.
“From someone who not long lost her Daddy I just want to say, the difference you have made in his family’s life’s will NEVER be forgotten!” wrote Shannon Swanson. “You are a true hero and on behalf of his family, I thank you!”
According to the Courier, the driver offered to buy him dinner at a local pub.