AS HE hung onto a weed while a swollen Flagstone Creek raged around him, Greg Hunter was certain his number was up.

The Lilydale man had a close brush with death when his car was swept from a spillway as he headed off on an early morning trip to pick up newspapers from Withcott.

Mr Hunter said he knew the area well, but was surprised by the torrent he saw going over Flagstone Creek Rd after heavy rain.

He braked hard, but his Mitsubishi Lancer sunk into the creek, and he began trying to free himself from the car.

"I slid out that way, and went underwater, and the rest is an underwater ride," he said.

"All I can remember after that is going a long way underwater and coming up and gasping for air, and I could see the tail lights of this car bouncing, sinking underwater.

"I thought it was goodnight Irene, I thought I was gone.

"I grabbed … one of those big weeds, and grabbed it and hung on.

"I turned around, and I thought there's the bank - I swam, and just dug in. I just felt I'm safe, I'm alive."

The ordeal wasn't over - after becoming disorientated and eventually limping back to the road, he flagged down a car with two men inside, telling them he had been in an accident.

"They got out of their car and I thought they were going to see if I was alright.

"They just turned around and walked inside this house and forgot about me. I thought to myself, thanks a lot.

"(Then) I'm limping up the road, soaking wet, and about 15 minutes later, they came back the other way and drove straight by me, and kept going, to add insult to injury."

Mr Hunter ended up returning to his home by foot.

He said he "should have realised" how high the creek would be and wanted to warn others of how much care needed to be taken in periods of heavy rain.

"It was a lucky series of events."

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