North Bundaberg exclusion zone footage

Julie kept older lady alive with body heat in flood ordeal

LYING down beside the elderly lady as water lapped at the side of the inflatable rescue boat, Julie Davis used her body to keep the woman warm.

Mrs Davis was part of a rescue team tasked with helping stranded victims in the 2013 floods.

On Friday the Lifesaving Service Co-ordinator for Wide Bay and deputy president of the Moore Park Lifesaving Club was awarded a Group Bravery Citation by Queensland Governor Paul de Jersey for her work during the floods.

Also recognised on the day were husband John and friend Joanna Tolvanen.

Other members of the rescue effort were awarded their pins last year.

Speaking about the rescue that earned her recognition, Mrs Davis said she was just doing what she had been trained to do.

"We were at home and we had a call to say there were three people stuck," she said.

"We were told they were stuck on the top of a caravan at Moore Park but when we got there we couldn't see anyone."

They were in contact with two firefighters, who were aware of fishing shacks along Booyan Rd on the Kolan River.

Two members of the group decided to put an IRB in the water and found three people, two men and an elderly lady, and a dog, stranded.

"There wasn't much left (of the shacks) by the time we saw it," she said.

"They had been on the roof for quite a few hours."

The trio's phone had gone flat and they had no way to alert anyone to their distress as the river rushed past.

"That river was flowing and there were all sorts of things down it ... powerlines, bits of paddock and rainwater tanks," Mrs Davis said.

BRAVE: Joanna Tolvanen and John and Julie Davis received their awards from Governor Paul de Jersey.
BRAVE: Joanna Tolvanen and John and Julie Davis received their awards from Governor Paul de Jersey. CONTRIBUTED

"We found some nice people who had jet skis and the decision was made that myself and this gentlemen would go and meet up with the other guys in the IRB," Mrs Davis said.

Armed with a first aid kit, Mrs Davis attended to the three before lying with the woman to keep her warm as darkness settled in.

The plan was to wait until low tide until a four-wheel drive could make it up the beach. However during the day the river had burst its banks, making it impossible for a vehicle to cross.

"We decided to bunker down and hope that everyone would still be okay in the morning," Mrs Davis said.

Another IRB was sent in early next morning with water and medical supplies.

At first light the group made their way back to Oyster Creek, meandering through mangroves until they hit dry land, where a car was waiting to transport them back to the surf club.

"She was pretty dehydrated but in good spirits," Mrs Davis said.

Two patrolling members on call that day were also nurses and looked after everyone until the ambulance arrived.

On receiving her pin, Mrs Davis said she was honoured.

"It was very humbling.

"We didn't do it because we wanted recognition, we did it because it's what we've been trained to do."


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