Couple fight floodwaters to save neighbour clinging to pole
THEY fought against Cyclone Debbie's high wind gusts, heavy rain and floodwater in the middle of the night to save their stranded neighbour.
For their heroic actions, Craig and Vivienne Coleman of St Lawrence, are among 74 Australians awarded the Australian Bravery Awards today.
The couple were both asleep in their home when they were awoken by a phone call from their neighbours who were stranded by floodwaters.
The area around St Lawrence was being affected by major flooding from the cyclone with fast-moving water classified as an inland tsunami.
The water level at the neighbour's property was rising rapidly, and his vehicle had also been swamped, rendering it useless.
The couple quickly got a small motor boat and trailered it to a safe place to launch into the water.
Vivienne directed the vehicle's headlights to illuminate the water while Craig launched the boat and navigated his way in the dark and treacherous conditions to their neighbour's property, 1.5 kilometres away.
When he arrived, the neighbour was clinging to a pole on the outside of the house with fast flowing water up to the man's chest.
Craig managed to move the boat close to the man and pulled him and his dog onboard.
The men then made their way back through flooded bushland to where Vivienne was waiting with the vehicle, despite the treacherous weather conditions.
They then made their way slowly across the flooded Bruce Highway to the safety of the Colemans' property.
The awards, announced today by the Governor-General, aim to recognise and celebrate Australians who, faced with a dangerous or perilous situation, thought not of themselves or their own safety but about others.
Craig is among 17 awardees receiving a Bravery Medal and his wife Vivienne is among 19 others receiving a Commendation for Brave Conduct.
The Australian Bravery Decorations are part of the Australian Honours System, hich was established in 1975, and recognise acts of bravery in other than warlike situations, by people who put themselves in jeopardy to protect the lives or property of others.
Nominations are considered by the Australian Bravery Decorations Council, an independent advisory body that meets twice a year to consider nominations and make recommendations to the Governor-General for awards.