A woman has been rescued by a local man who had gone to the river to take photos after her car was swept away in fast-moving floodwaters in a Victorian town.
The 74-year-old woman was driving in a convoy with a friend when both the cars became impacted by water on Elmore-Raywood Rd in Elmore just after 7pm on Monday.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Local man rescues woman swept away in floodwater.
Watch the latest news and stream for free on 7plus >>
As the water lifted the woman’s car, she was swept off the road and into Bendigo Creek at Naughtons Bridge and was sent 100m downstream.
As the car started to sink, the 74-year-old managed to climb out the window and grab onto a tree.
Mitch stayed with the woman for an hour to make sure she was OK until emergency services arrived. Credit: Victoria Police
Local man Mitch Smith saw the dangerous incident unfold while he was on the banks taking photos of the high water level.
Two men threatened with knives, one kidnapped in Melbourne armed robbery
Major development in search for missing kayaker in Victorian floods
He took off his boots, jumped into the water and swam towards the woman.
“She was rapidly losing strength and she wasn’t able to hold on for much longer,” Smith told Sunrise on Tuesday.
“I knew if we both hit the water again I was going to be in trouble and I wasn’t going to be able to rescue her.”
Smith made seven attempts to get to the tree before he was finally able to reach the woman and secure her to the trunk by using a ratchet strap.
He then stayed with her for an hour to make sure she was OK until emergency services arrived.
The SES and Victoria Police sent out a water rescue boat and brought the pair to shore.
Neither was injured in the ordeal.
Mitch Smith. Credit: Sunrise
“I went to see her before I left and she thanked me for saving her life and it was pretty heavy situation,” Smith said.
“We talked about having a drink and she said she doesn’t drink anymore, but she said she’ll be happy to have a Baileys with me.”
The woman’s friend was lucky her car was not also swept away and she was helped by members of the public to make it to dry ground.
Police have thanked Smith for risking his life to save the woman, as well as staying with her until she was rescued.
Floods are affecting large parts of regional Victoria and residents in Rochester and the low-lying parts of Yea were informed it was now too late to leave.
“If you have not evacuated, you should shelter in the highest location possible,” VicEmergency said in a statement.
“Be aware that you may be isolated by floodwater for a significant amount of time.“
In Seymour, the evacuation order remains in place for the low-lying areas, with flooding still expected to impact a number of streets and the local caravan parks.