Father and son awarded for braving flood waters

TOP JOB: Gary Dingle, the publican of the Rosedale’s Royal Hotel, and son Ben (inset) saved their neighbours during the 2013 floods.
TOP JOB: Gary Dingle, the publican of the Rosedale’s Royal Hotel, and son Ben (inset) saved their neighbours during the 2013 floods. Max Fleet BUNGAR

A FATHER and son who braved rising floodwaters and downed powerlines in the pitch black of night at Lowmead to rescue their neighbours have been commended for brave conduct in this year's Australian Bravery Awards.

In the earlier hours of Australia Day, 2013 Gary Dingle was woken by the SES who asked if he had a boat and would he rescue his neighbours, Lloyd and Mary Williams.

At the time, Mr Dingle's son Ben Dingle had just turned 17 and together they parked the car on a section of road and launched the boat towards the property.

"It was no where you'd ever launch a boat from," he said.

Mr Dingle said the water was already at a level he had never experienced.

"Not in my lifetime, they were unprecedented levels," he said.

"I've been through a few floods and the neighbours had water to the front door at the very peak, but nothing like this.

"The speed by then was staggering; the river was 3km wide and rising."

With their torch light fading and no moonlight, the pair was well aware of the hazards that confronted them as they made their way through the water.

"It was too dangerous to send a helicopter in," Mr Dingle said.

"We knew where they (the powerlines) were and knew to keep away from them but a few came up on us."

Mr Dingle said when they got closer to the neighbours it took time to locate them in a shed, standing in the back of their ute.

"Mary can't swim so she was very distressed," he said.

Mr Dingle said what he did was what anyone would do.

"We couldn't let them drown," he said.

Topics:  australian bravery awards editors picks floods

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