Tak­ing on the flood rapids

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS -

SIN­GLE-hand­edly, Rod­ney Free faced the river in Jan­uary 2013 and took it upon him­self to put his own life in dan­ger to save the lives of three oth­ers.

As two of the prop­erty's own­ers at­tempted to ne­go­ti­ate the flood­wa­ters, they were swept 100m down­stream be­fore man­ag­ing to cling to a power pole.

As ac­cess to the prop­erty had been cut, lo­cal man Rod­ney Free was con­tacted and he quickly got to the prop­erty and launched his small boat into the tor­rent of wa­ter.

The son of one of the men al­ready in trou­ble waded into the wa­ter to as­sist, and he too was swept off his feet be­fore man­ag­ing to cling onto a eu­ca­lyp­tus tree.

Mr Free said the steer­ing ca­ble on the boat broke and it got hairy for a while.

“It was lucky that I got there when I did, be­cause the old fella wasn’t go­ing to hang on much longer,” he said. “I man­u­ally steered the boat to the first man who climbed aboard.”

He then mo­tored the boat through the fast-flow­ing wa­ter to the two men on the power pole and pulled them aboard.

Mr Free is com­mended for brave con­duct and will be pre­sented with his award later this year at Gov­ern­ment House.

PHOTO: SUE HAR­RIS

BRAVE MAN: Rod­ney Free pick­ing man­goes.

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