Politics

Hero cop strips to underpants to save two boys from flooded NSW river


A police officer has stripped down to his underwear and dived into a flooded river to single-handedly rescued two boys in central west New South Wales.

Sergeant Joel Hunter is being praised for his courage after he jumped into the Lachlan River near Condoblin on Saturday afternoon and pulled the 11-year-olds to safety.

The boys had gone for a swim when they were quickly swept about 60 metres away by the fast-moving current.

One of the boys clings to a rope snagged on a tree in the fast-flowing river. (Nine)

The boys managed to grab hold of a rope attached to an exposed log in the middle of the river and called out for help to nearby campers at a caravan park.

Emergency workers received a call for help at 3.45pm and officers from the Central West Police District attended along with members of the SES and Rural Fire Service.

SES Assistant Commissioner Nicole Hogan said the rescue was a “great outcome”.

She said it was “a demonstration of how emergency services can work together.

“I would like to urge people though we have seen a number of an increasing plant rescues to really be aware of their conditions and their surrounding,” Ms Hogan said.

SES Condoblin Unit Commander Susan Bennett said police and SES arrived on the scene in less than four minutes.

Sergeant Joel Hunter stands at the scene where he rescued the two boys. (Nine)

“When we arrived we found two young boys hanging on a rope in the middle of fast flowing water,” she said.

The boys yelled out that they could not hold on any longer.

Sergeant Hunter told 9News he quickly stripped down to his underpants, put on a life jacket and jumped in.

He swam out to the children and brought both boys back to the riverbank, all three of them escaping injury.

The rescued pair on the riverbank after the dramatic ordeal. (Nine)

Sergeant Hunter said he understood the flow of the current and was able to navigate around it.

Chief Inspector Peter Atkins, the Officer in Charge of Orange Police Station, said he would commend Sergeant Hunter for a bravery award.

“The heroic efforts of Sergeant Hunter in rescuing these two boys in a fast-moving flooded river should be commended,” Chief Inspector Atkins said.

“If not for the quick-thinking and courageous response from our police, the outcome could have been tragic for the families of these two boys.

SES Condoblin Unit Commander Susan Bennett pictured on the banks of the Lachlan River where the rescue took place.
SES Condoblin Unit Commander Susan Bennett pictured on the banks of the Lachlan River where the rescue took place. (Nine)
The flooded river mean currents were fast flowing.
The flooded river mean currents were fast flowing. (Nine)

“It serves as a timely reminder coming into summer, that people should avoid swimming in flood-affected rivers, as conditions are unpredictable, changeable and often dangerous.”



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