Bexhill man Dale Batchelor has received a bravery award for his role in saving a man trapped in a flooded car in 2006. Photo: Geoff Egan / APN Newsdesk
Bexhill man Dale Batchelor has received a bravery award for his role in saving a man trapped in a flooded car in 2006. Photo: Geoff Egan / APN Newsdesk

Award for man who swam into car to free trapped driver

WHEN Dale Batchelor saw a car drive past his Bexhill home on January 20, 2006 he had a bad feeling about it.

The town was flooded in and he knew there was no safe way to drive out.

"This gentleman is just casually driving through and I'm thinking 'Wow, okay'," he said.

About 10 minutes later a couple of teenage boys came running looking for help - the car had driven into 2m of water on Bangalow Rd and the driver was trapped.

Mr Batchelor and his neighbour ran to the scene and entered the water - the two teenagers were already at the car trying to break a window with a bit of wood.

"We're swinging off doors, we're swinging off the boot, we're trying to tear panels off to get into this car," he said.

"The two young boys were still trying to break the window.

"It was pretty intense."

On Wednesday Mr Batchelor was one of four people to receive a Group Bravery Citation at Queensland's Government House in Brisbane.

The other three were:

  • Jack Burke
  • Simon Cleaver
  • The late Robert McInerney
Eventually the driver popped his boot and Mr Batchelor began kicking in and tearing the back seat.

"By that time the boot had filled up with water," he said.

"I swum in and instructed him how to get out - 'Follow me out mate, this is how we're doing it, we're swimming'."

The man escaped the car and was taken to safety.

"I'm glad that we were there, that anyone was there. I get emotional about it," Mr Batchelor said.

- APN NEWSDESK



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