Dad's anguish at watching daughter drown after crash
WATCHING his daughter take her last breath as he desperately tried to claw away the mud rushing over her face, Lee Brown knew his efforts to save her were in vain.
His "angel", 23-year-old Fa'licia Brown, drowned just minutes after the car they were both travelling in veered off the Bundaberg-Gin Gin Rd and careered into a roadside gully on May 25.
"We went up to the Gin Gin markets in the morning and we were on our way home," he said.
Mr Brown said his daughter, a learner driver who had only been given the keys to her own set of wheels just weeks before the tragic crash that took her life, had driven too close to the road verge when she lost control, causing the car to flip and land on its roof in the gully.
The impact caused Miss Brown to become trapped between the steering wheel and the roof of the car.
"I tried to drag her out, the water was coming in so quick," he said.
"After everything stopped, I noticed she was buried in the mud.
"The front of the car was literally just filled with mud."
What followed was a heart wrenching attempt to save his youngest daughter's life.
"I found her mouth and nose," he said.
"I said, 'breathe, darling, breathe'.
"She said, 'I am breathing'."
But the more he clawed the faster the mud and water gushed in through Miss Brown's open car window.
"No matter what I did, nothing worked," he said.
"Then I saw blood start coming down.
"I watched her take her last breath."
Mr Brown said once emergency services crews had arrived it was too late.
"She drowned in the gully," he said through tears.
"It's the most devastating thing you would ever have to face."
He said the pair had been inseparable, with Miss Brown being his full-time carer and best friend.
"We were very, very close - we went everywhere together," he said.
"She was my whole world - it's left me gutted."
Mr Brown said his little girl was an avid social media user and had made hundreds of friends right across the globe.
She touched all four corners of the world," he said.
"She had that magic where she was able to make everyone smile no matter how bad things were."
The 48-year-old farewelled his daughter at a special pink-themed funeral service on Tuesday.
"I bought her a pink outfit that they dressed her in," he said.
Miss Brown is also survived by her mum, Cathy, and siblings Dani, Scott and Lynne-Marie.