Dangerous floods in Queensland, Australia, in the past week from heavy rains have resulted in significant damage to cities and towns. But, as if this damage weren't devastating enough, the only fatality reported thus far could potentially have been prevented if onlookers had put down their smartphones to lend a helping hand.
A mother from the town of Roma and her 7-year-old son were trapped on Friday as the strong current began pulling them apart. Australia's Courier-Mail reports that some men rushed in to help Jane Sheahan as she passed her son, Darcy, to them. But it was too late for Sheahan to be pulled from the water herself. The Courier-Mail has more:
Blair Humphries ran to help five other locals as they saw Ms. Sheahan and her son Darcy trying to escape the fast-rising torrent that swept their car off the road in Roma on Friday.
Mr. Humphries said he had only done what he expected others would do in the same situation.
But he was critical of the onlookers who had not tried to help, especially those who reached for their mobile phones instead of the mum and child who needed their help.
The Courier-Mail reported Humphries as saying dozens of available men could have helped the mother, whose body was found Sunday. The Huffington Post goes on to report that some have said there were warnings that should have kept Sheahan off the road, but her brother has said that she would have not be irresponsible enough to put her child in danger if that were the case:
"It's totally untrue ... It gives the members of the public the impression that she was irresponsible," Sheahan's brother John Simon told the Brisbane Times. "My sister would never have done anything like that, she would never ever risk her children in any way."
One local official said he believes Sheahan could have been driving sandbags to areas with rising floodwaters.
"The lady was helping others out. That's what people do out here," Federal MP for Maranoa Bruce Scott told the Sunday Mail. "She was actually in the process of carrying additional sandbags into the area where the floods were rising."
Here's more from the Courier-Mail showing evidence of the damaging floods:
The flooding, which has resulted in the evacuation of many, has affected the towns of Roma, Mitchell, Charleville and St. George in Queensland as well as New South Wales. CNN reports that cleanup was set to begin today but more harsh weather is expected that could put a damper on the efforts.
Watch CNN's report for more on the flooding: