Reluctant hero saves woman from flood

GORDON Blake says he's no hero, despite risking life and limb in a daring rescue on Tuesday night.

The 55-year-old owner of Leisure Pools Coffs Harbour became a reluctant hero when he plunged into raging floodwaters to save a woman who was trapped in her vehicle that had been washed off Wirrawee Road at Nambucca Heads.

Gordon had caught a glimpse of headlights spinning out of the corner of his eye whilst checking on his horse in the heavy weather.

"It was like a slow-motion movie. I knew what I was seeing but it took a while to register. I thought, 'someone's left their car down there'," he said.

So he put on his Driza-Bone and boots and made his way to the scene.

But when he reached the Holden Commodore, it had been swept off the road in a 180-degree turn and was sitting on a 45-degree angle, its back wheel resting on the top of a metal fence post.

I looked in the windows with the torch, and I didn't think anyone was inside. So I decided I better ring the police so that no one comes speeding down the road and has an accident."

"Then I heard a voice saying, 'I need help, I'm in here'."

Gordon took off into the 3m to 4m deep floodwater fully clothed, and the force of the water was so strong he had to hold on to the car to steady himself.

He told the woman, who he only knows as Robyn, to climb out the partially open window and onto the roof.

And as she got onto his shoulders, a huge torrent of water pushed him under.

"Her handbag filled with water and acted like a parachute - it just pulled us down," he said.

Luckily, Gordon's torch was still working under the water, and it shone on to the mudguard of the vehicle.

"I thought we were going to get tangled in the barbed wire for sure. But I grabbed on and pulled myself around, using the crevice in the door. Then I grabbed on to the side mirror, got some footing and pulled myself up."

From there, Gordon made his way across the road in waist-deep water before he was helped by a passer-by.

Gordon then took Robyn up to the house to get warm and regain herself, before returning to the scene and making sure no one else made the same mistake.

Although his effort was completely amazing, he rejects being called a hero - he says anyone would have done the same.

"Cops, firies and ambulance officers do that every day.

"There's nothing outstanding about it," he said.

"And Robyn showed real maturity. She didn't panic and stayed as calm as possible."

He said warning signs could have avoided the incident.

"There needs to be a sign. You just can't see the water over the road, especially at night."


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