herald

Sunday 19 August 2018

Jordan (13) died after insisting his little brother be rescued first

Amid the stories of tragedy and heroism emerging from Queensland's tsunami, one stands out.

Jordan Rice (13) was swept to his death with his mother, Donna, minutes after insisting that his little brother be rescued first.

Ms Rice's partner, John Tyson, described Jordan's selfless act of heroism.

As the family, including Blake Rice (10) drove through Toowoomba with water only at wheel height, their engine stopped and their car was rapidly swept up by rising waters.

Although the family called the emergency services, Mr Tyson said no help came and bystanders watching the family did not offer help.

"All these people were just standing around until an old scrawny guy grabbed a bit of rope, wrapped it around himself and jumped in," Mr Tyson said.

"Jordan can't swim and is terrified of water. But when the man went to rescue him, he said 'save my brother first'," he said.

Mr Tyson said the man rescued Blake and tried to tie the rope around Jordan and Ms Rice but it broke and they were washed away, briefly clinging to a tree before they were taken off.

"I can only imagine what was going on inside to give up his life to save his brother, even though he was petrified of water," said Mr Tyson. "He is our little hero."

Another mother told how she was convinced her son had been killed after his car was hit by the floods and he called her, screaming: "I'm being swept away, come and get me."

Kay McKenna-Brock said her son, Dean (32) only had time to call for help before his phone cut out.

"There wasn't much we could do. All I thought of was how to get to him and how to get him help, we've got to go and save him. But we weren't allowed out," she said.



HELPLESS

"We thought he was dead. I felt helpless . When you're a mother you're supposed to look after your children."

However, Mr Brock was rescued by another motorist and taken to Helidon, 15 miles east of Toowoomba, which had also been flooded.

"He dragged me to Helidon and there was water everywhere. It was like I'd been thrown into a Third World country," he said.

Mr Brock added: "I just wandered around listening to their stories ... elderly people aged 90 climbing on to their roofs. People like that have stories, not me. I feel very lucky."

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