TWO elderly people were lucky to be rescued by a hero passerby, who police believe saved their lives, after they became stranded in floodwaters at Nanga Brook yesterday afternoon (August 7).
A man in his 70s and a woman in her 60s were walking the Bibbulman Track and had arranged to meet a family member near the corner of Driver Road and Howse Road in Nanga Brook.
When they arrived they noticed the Murray River had risen due to floodwaters and decided to attempt to wade across the causeway section.
The water current overcame them, they became stranded in the river and the elderly man became entangled in blackberry vines.
A man found them in the water by chance as he went to the crossing to check on the water levels.
He entered the water and rescued both of them and freed the stranded man from the vines.
Earlier, the walkers activated a Personal Locator Beacon, which alerted the AMSA Rescue Coordination Centre in Canberra.
WA Police were told about the distress beacon and Dwellingup Police were sent to the area.
Around the same time, the family member arrived to pick them up and raised the alarm with police.
Dwellingup Police were on their way when the rescuer waved them down and said he had the two people with him.
St John Ambulance attended and one of the police officers drove the ambulance to Peel Health Campus, allowing the ambulance crew to provide emergency first aid to the rescued pair on the way.
Officer-in-charge of Dwellingup Police Station Sergeant Matt Fitzgerald said the incident served as a reminder of the dangers of entering floodwaters.
“In many cases the water may appear to be calm on the surface, however, currents beneath the surface can catch people by surprise.
“While on this occasion it was fortunate that a passer-by came across the stranded pair when he did, the fact a Personal Locator Beacon had been activated meant that emergency resources were on the way.
“Entering floodwaters is extremely risky, and in this instance could have resulted in serious harm or death. It is only by good luck that the passer-by came across them when he did.
Floodwaters are especially dangerous, and the more remote you are the longer it takes for emergency responders to attend.
“In this particular case, given the location the incident occurred, we believe the passer-by, who put himself in harm’s way to rescue the pair, saved two lives.
“Had he not been there at that time the stranded pair were in such a precarious situation we believe they could have lost their lives.”