Imagine this. You are a thirteen year old boy driving along familiar streets with your mother and annoying younger brother. He is ten. You are bickering, as siblings do. He is bugging you, bloody pain in the butt he is. Your Mum is telling you both to shut up. Everyday stuff, just like the day before and the day before. It has been raining, you are all a little stir crazy with cabin fever from being stuck inside. It's the school holidays for God's sake, and you are sick of the rain and bored senseless. You reach over to give him a thump on the shoulder for his last smartarse crack...
"Oh my God." Your mother's words have you stopping mid shove and you turn to see a wall of water rushing towards your car. What was once the road in front of you is now a raging torrent of brown, a frothing, angry river which engulfs the car in seconds. Your mother screams as the car slides, you hear your brother join her and someone else yells in fear. It is you. You cannot swim, oh shit, "Mum, I can't swim!"
The car bumps and grinds its way in the swollen, strong, unstoppable current. You try to breath, try to steady your pounding heart and just breath. And you are crying, no longer the tough teenager, now a little boy in your terror.
With a slow groan the car lodges on a tree, it's frantic ride stilled momentarily. You can see someone through the fog of the constant rain, you and Mum and your brother scream "Help, please help." You force down the window and carefully climb onto the roof of the car, your brother scrambles out as your mother climbs precariously to the top too.
The vehicle shudders as the force of the deluge tries to shake it free to continue its death dance. You look into the eyes of your terrified brother, all arguments forgotten. He is crying too, it shocks you, he never cries, he is a tough little nut. The shadowed figure becomes a solid form, he is coming to help. He reaches out to grab you as the flood flow tries to pull him away. You reach forward... and glance at the white face of your sibling beside you. "Take him first - he can't swim." You do not add nor can I, and smile in relief as the burly rescuer grabs your brother and drags him away.
You and your mother grasp the tree with all the strength you can.
A grinding moan shakes the car as the tenous anchor gives. The sudden lurch pulls you from your perch into the torrent. Your mother cries out, then dives forward to reach you and you wrap your arms around her as the flood takes you both into its deadly grasp one last time...
RIP Jordan Rice of Toowoomba, 13 years of age.
Rescuers only had time to save one of the three from this car and he insisted they take his brother even though he also could not swim. What a loving, courageous young man cruelly stolen from this life with his loving mother also losing her life trying to save him. RIP Donna Rice, 43.