'If you get trapped in there you're dead'

Senior Constable Peter 'Nudge' Ellis rushes to the aid of Deon Ord who was trapped by rising flood waters on Keen Street.
Senior Constable Peter 'Nudge' Ellis rushes to the aid of Deon Ord who was trapped by rising flood waters on Keen Street. Marc Stapelberg

"IF YOU get trapped in there you're dead," Senior Constable Peter "Nudge" Ellis said.

"The water pushes continuously against you and it is relentless.

"The force of the water is unbelievable."

For Nudge and fellow police officer Snr Const John Stirling, the floodwater breaking over the levee on the morning of Friday, March 31, resulted in a swift water rescue of local man Deon Ord in the heart of Lismore's CBD.

Nudge had arrived early at work on Friday to do reconnaissance work in the area, when at 5am he and Snr Const Stirling received an alert that a man was stuck on the fence at the Uniting Church on the corner of Keen and Woodlark streets.

"Our first thoughts were 'just another person walking through water'," Nudge said.

"What shocked us was the ferocity of the water.

"When we got closer, we could see Deon."

Nudge said he was mainly thinking of Deon's welfare and where obstacles were.

AT LEFT AND ABOVE: Senior Constable Peter "Nudge” Ellis at work during the March 31 flood and with his fellow rescuers from the SES and police escorting Deon Ord to safety in Lismore CBD.
AT LEFT AND ABOVE: Senior Constable Peter "Nudge” Ellis at work during the March 31 flood and with his fellow rescuers from the SES and police escorting Deon Ord to safety in Lismore CBD. Marc Stapelberg

"We went right up to the crossing and there were telegraph poles and sign posts - you can easily get hooked on those," he said.

"The rope can get caught on the poles.

"The fences along Woodlark St have thin uprights running through them that you can get trapped against.

"One has to be really, really mindful of the environment."

Nudge said the initial swim across to Deon was the main concern.

"If I was not strong enough then I would get taken down Woodlark St," he said. "The water is pretty dangerous and if someone gets swept into a drain you are usually doing a body recovery.

"It is quicker on the bottom and is moving at a hell of a rate. As soon as I felt my legs get swept from under me I had to aggressively swim and stay on the top as much as I could. I have stood out the front of Gilhooleys (Mary G's pub) many times and if I missed my target I would have to release and float down Woodlark St."

Once Nudge had crossed the raging floodwater to the Uniting Church he tied off the rope that connected him to his fellow rescuers on the other side of the street, before climbing multiple fences to get to Deon and escort him back to their lifeline - the rope.

"I got to him to put a lifejacket on him and pulled him in," Nudge said.

"The poor fella was shivering.

"I helped him over the fence and then reattached the rope (to my lifejacket)."

Nudge said Snr Const Stirling organised other SES volunteers to prepare for the crossing back over the raging floodwater. Among the volunteers was a large man who played an integral part in the rescue, steering Nudge and Deon back across the currents to safety.

"He was an important factor because he was not going to move or let go of the rope," Nudge said.

"He is a man mountain and could take the strain up."

Should anything have gone wrong, Nudge would have been forced to release the rope from his lifejacket and wrap his arms and legs around Deon to stop him being pulled away by the floodwater.

"You do not let him go," he said.

"There's a fair chance he would hit his head, and half a chance he would drown."

The images and video received national attention as Australia turned its eyes to the devastation caused by ex-tropical cyclone Debbie in Lismore.

For many people, the disaster was just beginning.

Topics:  editors picks ex-tropical cyclone debbie fast water rescue flood nudge

Six hideaway bars to escape winter chill

THE last season of GoT finally uttered the words we’ve been waiting six seasons to hear and now that the weather has cooled down in Brisbane, “winter is here.”

Our six art gallery picks for a creative day out

Queensland's Gallery of Modern Art always has a fun, exciting and interesting exhibition on show for the whole family to enjoy.

YOU'D be mistaken in thinking Brisbane wasn't an arty city.

Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

You loved the film, now you're about to love the musical. Don't miss The Bodyguard The Musical in Brisbane this July.

THE arts and culture events you don't want to miss.

Homewares stores to fulfil your Instagram dreams

No Caption

You too can become an Insta-star with these fab stores.

Date nights under $50

Nothing is more romantic than a picnic with a cracking view.

NOT every date has to cost you a bomb.

Top 10 Brisbane experiences to cross off your bucket list

Do yourself a favour and get amongst the food truck scene. Eat Street is a great place to start.

A GOOD bucket list doesn’t have to span continents or cost millions.

Six mega sporting events you need to be at this year

Don't miss all the action trackside this season.

IF THERE is one thing Brisbane does damn well, it’s play host.

How to push your happiness buttons

BRAINY BOOST: Exercise is a natural way to boost your endorphins and happiness.

Manipulating the neurotransmitters that make you feel good.

What's fresh at your local farmers' market

The pecan harvest is just beginning, so you will find a good selection at the markets from now. PHOTO: KATE O'NEILL

Pecans and cauliflowers among the new buys, as well as a great tea

Local Partners

Charity has grand plans to help people help themselves

A charity that helps homeless and needy has opened a new shop in a bid to raise money to fund a venture that will feed and skill the very people it supports.

What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

Gig guide: Get the blues in Broadbeach

Russell Morris will perform at The Star Gold Coast as part of Blues on Broadbeach on Friday, May 19

Festival fun and top shelf gigs

Tweed's weekend gig guide

Wally and the Gators play Club Banora on Saturday night

What's on in the Tweed

Shot at the live shows slips through Sally's fingers

SUNSHINE Coast singer's dramatic elimination from The Voice nearly saw her form a duo with her battle round opponent.

Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor split after 17 years

They were married in May 2000 and have two children, who they said will remain their priority.

Ben Stiller and his wife Christine Taylor have called it a day

Why The Voice hasn't produced a star

Boy George responds to Brittania Clifford-Pugh's heart-warming message.

It's the industry, not the show, says Boy George

These actors hated their movies and didn’t mind admitting it

Channing Tatum and Marlon Wayans in a scene from GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

Every year, Hollywood blesses us with plenty of God awful movies.

Miranda Kerr and fiance hang up backyard tent for wedding

The decorators and caterers are arriving for the final preparations for the wedding of Miranda Kerr and Evan Spiegel. Pictures: Splash

Evan Spiegel and Miranda Kerr are set to marry today

Book review: Mia Freedman's book meets her critics head on

I appreciated Freedman's blunt honesty in the book

Man's amazing comeback from monster crisis

Pat O'Driscoll agents Penny Keating and Doug Webber sold 56 Agnes St, The Range at auction over the weekend.

NOT long ago, he sold his possessions to pay staff. Now he's back.

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!