You saved dad's life, ambos told
WITHOUT the dedication and service of two Grafton paramedics, Coffs Harbour man Jim Durrington may not be alive today.
During the torrential rain and subsequent floods in Coffs Harbour last month, Jim collapsed from a heart attack.
He had spent the afternoon on March 31 protecting his home and the nearby caravan park, where his daughter worked, from rising floodwaters after the creek behind the properties broke its banks.
“I've never seen water like it,” he said.
“We'd been rushing around and lifting things and probably panicking a bit.”
The paramedics on duty were Grafton men Rob Brown and Peter Maxwell.
They had already worked a full day in Grafton when they were called to assist crews in flood-ravaged Coffs Harbour.
“There was no traffic on the road which was good because I couldn't see where I was going,” Peter said.
By the time Peter and Rob received the call to assist Jim at Banana Coast Caravan Park, the rain was torrential.
With Jim safely loaded into the ambulance, Peter and Rob had the unenviable task of driving back through heavy floodwaters to reach the hospital.
“Water was over the bonnet, I couldn't believe it,” Jim said. “I remember the bloke behind me saying 'are you sure we're not in the river?'”
Jim's daughter Leanne Gatenby said without the dedication and perseverance of the two Grafton paramedics, her father would have died.
“I know they have a job to do, but they went above and beyond their job,” she said.
“They want to help and protect people's lives.”
Speaking in Grafton last week, Peter said he was pleased to hear the feedback, but did not consider their efforts to be anything extraordinary.
“He was pretty crook and needed to get to hospital, so we kept going until we got there eventually,” Peter said.
All up, Peter and Rob worked for 18 hours straight assisting people in Coffs Harbour, knocking off at 2.30am.
As reported in The Daily Examiner on April 2, when Peter arrived back at work a few hours later at 8am, he discovered his car had been broken into at Grafton Ambulance Station.
Jim and Leanne said that on reading about the crime, they were disgusted and wanted to thank the Grafton paramedics.
“How can people even do that kind of thing?” Jim asked. “Those two blokes did everything they could.”