Speaking after the flash flooding that sent torrents of rainwater through parts of inland Queensland last week, Blair Humphries, a father of four, explained how Jane Sheahan, was driving with her son Darcy, seven, through the flooded streets of Roma on Friday, fast-rising rainwater swept their vehicle off the road.
Humphries said one man tried to reach mother-of-two, Sheahan, and her son with a ski rope, and another stood by a telephone pole downstream in anticipation of the pair being swept towards him. Humphries and another man then entered the water to try to help the mother and son back to safety.
However, as it became apparent only one of the pair could be saved, the woman handed her son to the men, and shouted “save my son!”.
“One of the men wedged himself against a power pole further downstream in a desperate attempt to grab the woman and her son if they were swept past them,” said Humphries.
“The mother and son were outside the car when I arrived but they were being pulled apart by the water.”
The other men who had gone to the rescue managed to grab Darcy and pass him to Humphries.
Sheahan has been hailed a hero. She managed to hang on to Darcy and pass him to rescuers before she was sucked under the torrent of water that has engulfed much of central Queensland.
She was swept under the floodwaters, her body recovered later that afternoon under a bridge.
Investigators are trying to figure out why Sheahan was driving on a flooded road. One witness claims she had ignored warnings from onlookers.
Sheahan’s brother, John Simon hit back at the accusation.
“It’s totally untrue … It gives the members of the public the impression that she was irresponsible,”
“My sister would never have done anything like that, she would never ever risk her children in any way.”
Local MP, Bruce Scott said Sheahan was delivering 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.”
Thousands of Australians remain forced from their homes after floodwaters engulfed inland Queensland.
Flood-hit communities in inland Queensland have been warned to prepare for severe thunderstorms, damaging winds and large hailstones.
The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe thunderstorm warning on Tuesday. It says Roma, Charleville and Mitchell, which are mopping up after the floods, could be hit.
Also in the firing line is the town of St George, where a levee bank is holding back 14m waters threatening to inundate the town.