Gympie's flood hero takes out top bravery award
HEROISM does not sit comfortably on Trevor Davis's shoulders.
Thinking about why he threw himself into a rapidly flowing floodway to pull a stranger from a submerged car, the auto electrician considers his words carefully.
"Well you don't just look at people drowning and say 'Look at that poor bastard'," he says as he makes his way from Gundiah, about halfway between Gympie and Maryborough, to Brisbane where he is due to receive a Royal Humane Society of Australasia bravery award.
"You try and jump in and save them."
It's a typically short response from a bloke who prefers to avoid the limelight and would rather talk about the weather than his selfless act on the morning of March 5, 2012.
Mr Davis recalls wondering at the silliness of a Toyota Hilux driver negotiating the flooded Gutchy Creek crossing in Glenwood.
"I'd just come through there about 10 minutes beforehand - it was really flowing hard," he says.
His amazement turned to horror as the strong current pushed the vehicle off the road into the ever-expanding creek.
Within seconds the Toyota - with the elderly driver still inside - was out of sight.
Grabbing a long power lead from his vehicle, Mr Davis tied one end around a guidepost and the other around his waist and waded into the floodway.
"I got the extension cord so I'd be able to get to it (the ute) and pull ourselves back in - that sort of thing," he says of his initial plan.
Wading away from the safety of solid ground, Mr Davis soon realised his makeshift lifeline was not going to reach the ute.
"I just realised, 'Oh well it's too short' so I just untied it and bloody well drifted to the car," he said.
"The whole idea was just to get in and get him out and then get out of there."
With his safety line floating away, Mr Davis dived under the murky water and wrenched the driver's door open. He grabbed the victim and pulled his head above the water.
The driver took a few breaths and passed out.
But Mr Davis was not about to give up.
He wedged his body into the fork of a submerged tree and did his best to save the stranger.
"I tried to give him mouth to mouth but he was just a big bloke and he kept going down, under, and I couldn't really do it (CPR) in the water," Mr Davis said.
An onlooker threw a rope to the rescuer who used it to tie the lifeless man's body to the tree.
He said he had no idea the victim had died from a heart attack.
"I was just pissed off that I couldn't get him out of the water early enough to save him," he said.
Mr Davis received a bravery award last year for his actions and he said it was nice to receive the Humane Society's recognition on Wednesday.
- APN NEWSDESK