The city of Toowoomba has been hit with tsunami-like flooding as rushing waters continue to snake their way to the Australian coastline. One of the flood's latest victims, a teenager named Jordan Rice, is being hailed as a hero after he urged rescuers to save his younger brother first, just moments before the raging waters swept him and his mother away.
Jordan, brother Blake and the boys' mother, Donna, were caught in the rushing waters on Monday. When the family was forced to climb onto the roof of their car, a Good Samaritan managed to save 10-year-old Blake as Donna and Jordan, 13, tried to cling to a nearby tree.
According to Jordan's father, the boy couldn't swim. "(The truck driver) went to grab Jordan first, who said, 'Save me brother'. I can only imagine the fear coursing through his body," the boy's father said.
Jordan's story, as reported by the Herald Sun, is not just one of tragedy, but one that demonstrates the love of family. "He won't go down with any fanfare or anything like that - I don't think anyone will even wear a black armband for him - but he's just the champion of all champions, a family hero," Jordan's dad said.
Donna, Jordan and Blake, 10, were just minutes away from picking up eldest child Chris at his house when the car became stuck near the intersection of James and Kitchener Sts in Toowoomba. The water was only up to the car wheels, but the engine stopped.
Ms Rice could only ring 000 because her mobile phone had run out of credit. The family was told to stay put and they climbed on to the roof of the car as the floodwaters rose. Mr Tyson said bystanders looked on until the semi-trailer driver wrapped some rope around himself and jumped in.
The truck driver rescued Blake, 10, first at Jordan's direction. The rope broke as he went back to get Jordan and Donna, forcing the pair to cling to a tree.
"Jordan was swept off,'' Mr Tyson said. "As soon as he went, Donna just let go, you know trying to clutch at him. "The poor little bugger, they just both drowned.''
According to Mr. Tyson, it hadn't been raining hard when the trio left their house, but he nevertheless warned them to be careful. "I said to her, 'You be careful in the rain' but not for one instant if I thought there was any sort of risk would I ever have let her go by herself. I wouldn't have even let her go.''
Tyson and his wife were married for 30 years. Though he's grateful for Blake's survival, losing his wife and son has left him devastated. "I don't even know where I'm going to start," he said.
Thousands of families are suffering through Australia's unrelenting floods which have left nearly 9,000 homes flooded with dozens of people missing: