My son's a hero: Boy, 13, sacrifices his life to save brother in raging Australian floods
Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 11:28 PM on 12th January 2011
Teenager swept away with his mother
A boy of 13 gave up his chance of being rescued from the floods so that his younger brother’s life could be saved.
Jordan Rice told rescuers to take his ten-year-old brother Blake and their mother Donna from their trapped car before going back for him.
His selfless act meant Blake was saved – but tragically, Jordan and his mother were swept away in the car and died.
Hero: Jordan Rice, 13, let his younger brother be rescued first, seconds before he and his mother Donna were swept to their deaths in the floods in Toowoomba, Queensland
Jordan was described as ‘our little hero’ last night by Miss Rice’s grieving partner, John Tyson.
Miss Rice, Jordan and Blake were driving through Toowoomba, west of Brisbane, on Monday when the car’s engine cut out as it passed through relatively shallow water at a junction.
The car would not re-start and Miss Rice called the emergency number on her phone.
The emergency operator told her to stay where she was, but as the flood waters began to rapidly rise all three were forced to climb on to the roof of the car.
Mr Tyson told how bystanders did nothing to help until one brave local man grabbed a piece of rope, wrapped it around himself and jumped into the raging waters.
‘Jordan can’t swim and is terrified of water,’ said Mr Tyson.
‘But when the man went to rescue him, he said, “Save my brother first”.’
Blake was pulled clear, but when the rescuer and another man tried to tie the rope around Jordan and Miss Rice it broke and mother and son were swept away.
They managed to cling to a tree branch briefly, but the current was too strong and they were carried away to their deaths.
Mr Tyson said of Jordan: ‘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.’
Search: A car is wrecked in floodwaters outside the town of Grantham in South East Queensland
'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.'
Mr Tyson should have spent last night celebrating his 46th birthday, but was instead at a mortuary.
Mr Tyson described Jordan as a good kid who loved music and drawing.
'He was very quiet ,' Mr Tyson said. 'He was the exact opposite to all the others. He'd wear purple and chrome boots and red skinny jeans and one of those real sad penguin golf shirts.''
Mr Tyson said the family were originally going to have a birthday dinner for him last night.
He added: 'I would never know what it was but she would make sure [she would cook] something I'd like to eat. At the end of the day I guess it's just the worst birthday I've ever had in my life.'
Hunt goes on for missing car roof father
Fears: James Perry was last seen clinging to his car in the Toowoomba flash floods.
The father last seen clinging to the roof of his 4x4 vehicle in the Queensland flood has been identified as prominent horse racing personality James Perry.
Pictures of Perry perched on the roof of his car with his wife and nine-year-old son in the midst of a deluge in the town of Grantham were broadcast around the world.
Perry's wife and son were plucked to safety first, but when the rescue helicopter returned for him there was no sign of Perry, 39, or the 4x4.
Queensland Racing chief executive Mal Tuttle confirmed the situation and said of the steward: 'We're still hoping for the very best news in relation to James, but we’re preparing for the worst.'
Mrs Perry and their son are recuperating in hospital with anxious relatives.
'His wife Jenny and son Ted are recuperating in hospital,' Mr Tuttle said.
Mr Tuttle said Mr Perry had been employed in October last year after returning from a stints in the racing industry in South Korea.
'We’re still hoping for the very best news in relation to James, but we’re preparing for the worst.'
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh, in a press conference, referred to the Perrys' situation without using his identity.
She said she had had a number of inquiries and phone calls about the family on the white car after the news coverage. She confirmed the mother and child are safe.
'The father is unfortunately one of those on the missing person list,' Bligh added, saying there was 'a great feeling of helplessness for everyone who saw it.'
This dramatic image from the Queensland flooding on Tuesday sparked international worry for the family's safety
Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron has offered his sympathy to
people affected by flooding in Queensland in a phone call to Australian
counterpart Julia Gillard.
Mr Cameron told Ms Gillard that the UK stood ready to offer any assistance needed to help with the deluge which has swamped large areas of her country and forced the partial evacuation of the city of Brisbane.
It is not thought that Ms Gillard requested any specific help.
Downing Street said: 'The Prime Minister offered his deep sympathy on behalf of the British people for those who have died, those who have lost their homes and all those who have been affected by the floods in Queensland.
A second car wrecked outside the town of Grantham. The small town was hit by flash flooding causing mass destruction
'He stressed how closely people in Britain were following developments. He made clear the UK's strong support for everything the Australian Government was doing and his admiration for the amazing resilience shown by the Australian people.
'He said the UK was ready to offer assistance if that should prove necessary.'
At least 22 people have died and more than 50 are missing in Queensland after torrential rains which have drenched the state since November forced rivers to burst their banks, inundating an area larger than France and Germany combined.
State capital Brisbane, Australia's third-largest city with a population of two million, is the latest area affected.
The city's mayor Campbell Newman says almost 20,000 homes are expected to be swamped by the time the Brisbane River reaches its expected peak.
'Miracle' baby born in home cut off by floods
A rare chink of good news was provided by the successful delivery of a healthy baby boy by a woman whose home was surrounded by floods.
Australian media dubbed Callum Jack Wieland a 'miracle baby', with Sydney's Daily Telegraph describing him as 'living proof that amongst the despair in Queensland there is hope.'
His mother had gone into labour at Bright View in the deluged Lockyer Valley on Monday at the height of the flash flood torrents.
But by late yesterday, the baby was delivered with the assistance of relatives - an emergency helicopter was unable to reach because of the heavy rain.
'She was in a semi-rural property and the roads around her had been isolated,' a spokeswoman for Queensland's CareFlight helicopter told AFP.
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