'We've got to get her out': Brave effort to save driver
WITHIN seconds of hearing a screech and bang, Corinne Batt-Rawden was scaling down the steep embankment of the Wilson River to rescue an elderly driver from her sinking car.
Ms Batt-Rawden, 46, was among the first on the scene after a car hurtled into the river off Bridge St at about 4.25pm last Friday.
"I was across the road at the Serpentine Gallery and heard a screech and a bang so I came out and saw a young man running across the street towards the river," she said.
"I got to the edge and there was two guys down on the riverbank ... there was a car in the water with the back end sticking out still, going down.
"I could see bubbles coming up from the car, then the car disappeared beneath the water, it was very still.
"When the car was sinking it was like slow motion - I remember thinking 'there's air in there' ... the seconds are ticking away and people can't survive long underwater."
Ms Batt-Rawden began shouting to the other men: "We've got to get her out".
"One of the guys started taking his clothes off and began to get into the water, but then told us he couldn't swim ... my heart bled, I was so sorry," she said.
"Then my top came off and I flew down that bank like I was a gymnast. It was just a natural response to go in.
"I heard one man mention to her to take her seatbelt off.
"I swam down the river to fetch her, and swam her back to the bank and another man named Bruce was helping me get her out of the water."
The trio continued trying to pull the woman out of the water until police arrived and began performing CPR.
After she was revived by emergency services, the driver, an 84-year-old woman sadly passed away later that night at Lismore Base Hospital. She was from Casino.
"I think I was at the right place at the right time ... she almost survived," Ms Batt-Rawden said.
"I thought she'd already passed - I left the scene while they were performing CPR.
"But I got a call that night from the police to tell me she was showing signs of improvement but then I found out she'd sadly passed away that night.
"I'm really proud of everyone that day, the public and the police - it's amazing to see humans step up - in every life event, someone always steps up."