Police drag bus driver to safety in known crocodile river in Cairns, QLD

Photo: Queensland Police

Sometimes, policing in Far North Queensland means jumping into rivers where crocodiles lurk, if it means saving a life, Queensland Police say.

That’s the position officers in Cairns found themselves in tonight.

Around 6.45pm a tourist bus and trailer crashed in Smiths Creek in Fearnley Street with the interior of the cabin quickly filling with water.

A passing police patrol containing three plain clothes officers was on the scene within moments.

With no time to wait as the bus was filling with water and sinking into the mangrove mud, an officer stood on either side of the river looking for crocodiles, while the third officer entered the murky waters to rescue those on-board.

Two other police patrols and the District Duty Officer, were on the scene within minutes, shining car headlights into the water to help illuminate the bus as police determined how many people were on the bus, and to help search for crocodiles.

Fortunately, the bus was empty except for the male driver, who was trapped inside the cabin. It took several attempts before the officer was able to drag the driver out through the windscreen and to the safety of the embankment.

Police provided first aid to the driver, a 36-year-old man, before he was transported to Cairns Base Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Senior Sergeant Duane Amos, Far North District Duty Officer said the quick thinking of the officers involved likely saved the life of the bus driver.

“The rapid response by the officers, seeing the bus sinking and flooding the compartment area, has averted a tragedy on the quickly submerging bus.”

If you have information for police, contact Policelink on 131 444 or provide information using the online form 24hrs per day.

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