An impulsive swim with a friend in a flooded Queensland creek left a 14-year-old by desperately clinging to a tree until police and firefighters were able to reach him and pull him from raging floodwaters. NBC's Sara James reports.
A teenage boy left clinging to a tree in a raging torrent of floodwater in Australia was pulled to safety in a dramatic rescue Friday.
As the teen was being brought to dry land – in scenes caught on video — the emergency worker who saved him was swept away by the churning mass of brown water in Rockhampton, Queensland.
The rescuer went under a nearby bridge but managed to reach safety moments later.
The AFP news agency reported that in total there were 20 water rescues across Queensland state Thursday night and early Friday, including a woman and two children trapped in a car and seven people in two flooded houses.
Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said nearly a foot of rain had fallen in Yeppoon, north of Rockhampton, since early Thursday, the AFP reported. The area is being hit by the remains of tropical cyclone Oswald.
One rescuer told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that the boy rescued in Rockhampton was lucky to be alive. “The current was so strong, it just took him away,” Brett Williams said.
In the video of the rescue, the boy is seen holding onto a tree amid the rushing waters.
A rescuer goes out to him and a yellow rope is seen in the water.
The two then let go of the tree and make their way to land, at times appearing to be engulfed by the waters.
'He's good, he's good'
But, as the rescuer in the water tries to transfer the teen to others on the land, he is suddenly swept away.
“He’s going under the bridge,” a voice is heard saying.
Other rescuers run after him, and moment later one is heard saying, “He’s good, he’s good.”
The Australian broadcaster reported that “huge rainfall totals” were expected over the weekend as Oswald tracks south, with Queensland Premier Campbell Newman warning that the state’s largest city Brisbane could be hit by flooding.
AFP said 30 people were killed and more than 2.5 million people were affected by floods in Queensland two years ago.