Dad smashes window to save family from sinking house boat
A MAN has been praised for saving his family after he smashed a window of their sinking houseboat to help everyone escape.
The family of seven were staying on a houseboat on the Clarence River at Iluka when the boat started sinking just after a wild hail storm hit the region about 5pm last night.
Marine Rescue NSW regional operations manager John Murray said the Iluka Yamba crew were called to the incident after a distress flare was sent.
"Seven people were on the houseboat at the time," he said.
"Other people were able to come to their aid before we arrived at the scene ... it was very fortunate."
Tracey Davis has been camping at Iluka for 27 years and she witnessed some of the dramatic events as they unfolded.
She said she was watching the storm and taking photos when she noticed the houseboat.
"It was just putting along and it was tiny, and I thought, 'oh no, it's in trouble'," she said.
"When I came out after the storm, everyone was saying that the houseboat had tipped over ... they said seven people were on board.
"We were told the father actually smashed the window so he could get everyone out.
"He's got cuts and maybe a broken arm.
"Once all the people were out, they realised the three dogs were still inside. There was a lot of cheering when the rescuers got the dogs out."
Ms Davis said there was plenty of hail at Iluka during the peak of the storms, and many of the caravans at the caravan park were damaged.
The houseboat has been anchored up and a salvage crew will assess the situation today.