Off-duty SES member helps to save the day!

Off-duty SES member helps to save the day!

31/10/2022, 1:18 PM

It was just another drive home from work for SES Operational Communications Officer, Justin Costello, when he’d heard on his radio of an 11-year-old boy that required immediate rescuing from floodwater nearby.

The 11-year-old boy was trapped in a flooded stormwater drain, when the call for help came through.

The boy, who had been riding his bike with a friend earlier that afternoon, was sucked underwater when he accidentally rode across a submerged drain on Merton Street.

He was washed about 10m under the road before managing to grab a metal grate on the other side, his bike helmet catching on the structure so he had time to take hold.

The boy was left fighting the powerful current, managing to keep his head above the water whilst holding on for dear life. 

Together with a passer-by, Justin acted swiftly and rushed to his aid, miraculously rescuing the boy.

Using his extensive socket set, Justin worked to remove bolts from the drain's grate to get to the boy, who by this point was fully submerged in the swiftly moving water.

A local police officer from the Williamstown Police Station arrived soon after and prised the grate open, with the boy still clinging to the underside before being pulled to safety.

Paramedics treated the boy at the scene and he was taken to hospital.

His friend, also washed from his bike, managed to brace himself from getting sucked into the water.

Do not drive, walk, or play in floodwater. It is not safe. Flood water can conceal life-threatening hazards such as uncovered drains or debris, or contain biological or hazardous materials.

For emergency assistance with flood or storm damage, call the SES on 132 500. For life threatening emergencies, call triple zero (000).

Quotes attributable to Justin Costello, VICSES Operational Communications Officer:

"It’s very rewarding to know that together we helped to save this young boy’s life. We were simply just doing our job.”

“It’s really lucky we were all in the right place at the right time. Floodwater as we have seen can be highly dangerous and so it’s amazing there were no further injuries.”

"It just goes to show how treacherous and powerful floodwater can be. The force of the water was extraordinary, it’s amazing to see how hard this boy worked to hold on, and that we have a good end result here.”