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Inskip ‘sinkhole’ victims touched by support

GRATEFUL: Jenny and Dieter Gass from Latrobe Valley, Victoria had been holidaying for three weeks in their caravan before the Inskip “sinkhole” ruined everything.
GRATEFUL: Jenny and Dieter Gass from Latrobe Valley, Victoria had been holidaying for three weeks in their caravan before the Inskip “sinkhole” ruined everything. Greg Miller

AN ELDERLY Buderim man who once drove his car into a river has reached into his savings for Inskip Pt landslide victims Dieter and Jenny Gass.

The couple narrowly escaped with their lives 11 days ago when their caravan and car were sucked into the ocean by a landslide.

The landslide at their beachside campsite opened a deep, fast-eroding hole on the beach and caused panic among campers.

Dozens of families scrambled to safety in the darkness, with pets, children and vehicles in tow, while Dieter and Jenny Gass tried in vain to save the caravan they called home.

The donor, who asked he not be named, read about Jenny and Dieter's plight in the Daily, and promptly sent a cheque for $500.

"I thought it was tremendous bad luck," he said.

The 94-year-old retired dentist had worked in remote Western Australia before moving to the Sunshine Coast in 1988. He had no children of his own, but was known by all in his Buderim neighbourhood for his generosity toward others, said his carer.

"I know when there were a lot of younger children around this area where he lived he helped them out by giving them jobs in his yard," she said.

The Buderim man agreed that people were generally good.

"I ran a car into a river once and the people that lived nearby sent a lot of help," he said. "I got out and went to a nearby building, and they arranged to get a bloke to tow me out, and gave me tea and warmth."

Jenny and Dieter Gass had a similar experience on the night of the landslide. A park ranger and his wife gave them a house to stay in and brought towels and clothes.

Jenny said one memory of the night of the landslide returned to her every day.

"There (was) this beautiful lady on the night," she said. "It was when the car and van went down. I was devastated. I said, 'I've just lost everything, everything. It's just me and the dog and my hubby."

The stranger went away, and when she returned she gave Jenny some money.

"She said it's not much," Jenny said, but it was $100. "I can still see her face. I just said 'thank you'."

Jenny choked up with emotion as she recalled the touching moment, and said she remembered the act of kindness every day because in the chaos she never got to thank the woman properly.

"I want her to know how grateful we were and we'll never forget her," she said.

Two teenagers also helped the struggling couple on the night.

"They were just beautiful to me," Jenny said. "They were just so caring and didn't want to leave me."

The teens stayed with her while Dieter tried unsuccessfully to tow their caravan to safety.

"Whoever they belong to, their parents can be very proud."

The couple were overjoyed when they learnt of the Buderim man's donation.

 To donate to Jenny and Dieter phone (07) 5340 1037 or email Nicky.Moffat@scnews.com.au

Gympie Times

Topics:  cooloola coast, gympie, inskip point, support




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