Quick thinking from a Molloy Island ferry driver has saved the life of an elderly resident and his dog after he accidentally drove his car in to the water while trying to board the ferry.
A 77-year-old Molloy Island man was attempting to board a ferry heading from the mainland to the island when it is believed he accidentally hit the accelerator of his car.
The Hyundai hatchback crashed through a safety railing and plunged into the Blackwood River.
The car began to sink and was almost submerged when ferry driver and Molloy Island manager Robin Evernden took action.
“I threw a life ring to him on a rope and dived into the water but we couldn’t get him out so I came back onto the ferry,” Mr Evernden said.
“I got Matt, a contractor on the island, to come on board and we took the ferry out and punctured the roof with the ferry ramps which held the car up and stopped it from sinking further.
“There was an air pocket in the back where (the man) had crawled over the seat and still managed to breathe. I smashed the side window with a hammer and pulled him out.”
Once the man was back on the barge, Mr Evernden and Matt returned to the car and retrieved the man’s dog by smashing the back window.
Mr Evernden said the man remained calm throughout the ordeal and was able to walk off the ferry, but had been deeply concerned for his dog.
He was taken by ambulance to Augusta hospital for observation and was last night resting back at his Molloy Island home in the care of his wife.
The couple did not wish to speak to the media but expressed their sincere gratitude for the rescue efforts.
Augusta police attended the scene and also praised Mr Evernden’s quick thinking.
Mr Evernden credited extensive safety training with his ability to conduct the rescue and remain calm.
“I really just wanted to get in and get it done,” he said.
Mr Evernden’s wife, Ally, said she was extremely proud but not surprised by her husband’s actions.
It’s not the first time Mr Evernden has been the subject of media attention.
Earlier this year he cycled across the Nullarbor from Bunbury to Adelaide to raise money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.