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The Man On The Roof


Just recently my poor town was hammered by a rain bomb that flooded the town out, drowned it for the first time in its' 140 odd years history. It is used to getting flooded but not like this. It rose over the levee 15-16m high, fast flowing water, caught us all unaware.

Now for my story. I'm a member of a volunteer organization, an emergency service that specializes in storm and water, land searches, and flood rescues. That's what I am-a Flood Operator (just a fancy name for being a rescuer). My job is seek, locate, and perform rescues, mostly risking our lives to save others. I've done many. My mate, Simon, and I were on the Archangel, a large Zodiac, and were going down the flooded streets, street lights were out but the beam of ours was bright enough to navigate through floating debris. We called out but no one answered, which is a worrying sign then Simon swung the beam around to one of the houses, searching it.

'What's wrong?' I asked.

'Thought I saw someone...there, look,' in the beam was a man standing waving at us, pointing at the roof. We navigated over to the house and climbed onto the roof but the man was nowhere to be seen, which was again a worrying sign. Below us we heard someone crying and hammering. We tore the roofing off and found a little old 89 year old woman, water up to her chin, standing on a chair. We got her out and into the boat. I looked around and asked her about the man. She looked at me bemusedly.

'What man?'

Simon told her that we saw a man wearing a plaid shirt which looked outdated and pants but no raincoat. She frowned then smiled sadly.

'That'll be my Andrew.'

'Is he around?' I asked, ready to get out.

'Oh no,' she shook her head, 'Andrew's dead. He died in the '74 flood. He was my disabled son. Drowned while trying to get off the roof. Looks like he looking after his mum, eh?'

Simon and I looked at each other but said nothing. We brought her back but told our commander the story. She looked at us and said 'Least the old woman is safe.'

That night we went back out and saved a further twenty lives but the man on the roof will always stay in my memory.

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, AussieRedDog, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments but I won't participate in the discussion.

Arturo (10 posts)
1 month ago (2024-06-05)
I read all your stories, very interesting life you have had. Thanks for sharing, and thanks for saving lives too!
Unexplained (2 stories) (122 posts)
2 years ago (2022-06-01)
That was a touching story, ARD. Nice one! Thanks for posting.
DandK (11 stories) (344 posts)
2 years ago (2022-04-10)

I'm very sorry to hear about the flooding in your town. I hope that people are doing well, and keeping their thoughts positive. It is hard to deal with losses of that magnitude, but much easier when community helps each other through it.

I liked your story. Especially because of the comfort I imagine that it gave to the woman you rescued.
Rajine (14 stories) (833 posts)
2 years ago (2022-04-01)
Hi AussieRedDog

A really touching story, It just goes to show that our loved ones are always around us even though we can't see them anymore.

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