IN THE SWIM: Raymond Bruckner is learning to swim at McMahon’s Swim Factory with the guidance of instructor and general manager Tony Mammous.
IN THE SWIM: Raymond Bruckner is learning to swim at McMahon’s Swim Factory with the guidance of instructor and general manager Tony Mammous. Rob Williams

Flood rescue hero now getting swimmimg lessons

PICTURE this scenario: you hear the screams of two men trapped in raging floodwater nearby, they need your help, but you don't know how to swim.

That was the situation Lowood resident Raymond Bruckner found himself in during the flood in 2011.

The father of two, who couldn't swim at the time, risked his life in a dramatic rescue with neighbour Ernst Gomsi.

Two years on from the natural disaster both men have been recognised for their heroic act.

When the flood threatened their properties, Mr Bruckner said he went to Mr Gomsi's house to help the 69-year-old move furniture from the rising water.

It was a few hours later when they heard frantic cries coming from the creek.

"We could hear the shouts from about 600 metres away," Mr Buckner said.

"You couldn't see anything, though, because it was coming from behind the tree line."

Without a moment's hesitation, the men grabbed a canoe and paddled out to investigate.

Upon reflection, Mr Bruckner said he never stopped to consider the consequences of what would have happened if he had fallen into the water.

Lowood residents Ernst Gomsi and Raymond Bruckner have been awarded Clarke Bravery Medals for saving two men from flood waters at Lockyer Creek in January, 2011. Photo Ava Benny-Morrison / Newsdesk
Lowood residents Ernst Gomsi and Raymond Bruckner have been awarded Clarke Bravery Medals for saving two men from flood waters at Lockyer Creek in January, 2011. Photo Ava Benny-Morrison / Newsdesk Ava Benny-Morrison

"We didn't have life jackets and I couldn't swim at all," he said.

"I never bothered to learn (to swim) because I had reached a stage in my life where I was too embarrassed to start.

"But in that moment you are not really thinking of the 'what ifs' - it's 'we have got to do something'."

When they rounded the corner in their canoe they found two men clinging to a powerline in the floodwater.

After taking one man - who had received an electric shock and suffered a heart attack - to the creek bank, Mr Bruckner and Mr Gomsi went back for the other man.

The canoe tipped to the side, throwing Mr Gomsi out in the process.

"It was a scary moment," Mr Bruckner said.

"If it had been me who fell in the water I wouldn't have been coming back up."

The Lowood neighbours were this month presented with the Clarke Medals for bravery and will later receive the National Bravery Medal.

The incident also prompted Mr Bruckner to begin swimming lessons at the Swim Factory in Woodend with his two daughters.

"It (the rescue) really brought home the fact that I needed to learn how to swim," he said.

"It's a life skill that I have made my two daughters learn so it would be hypocritical if I didn't too."



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