By Jessica Howard
A Bacchus Marsh man is lucky to be alive after jumping feet first into a river at the Lerderderg Gorge and becoming unconscious.
The man, believed to be aged in his 40s, was pulled from the water by bystanders on Saturday January 7.
An Ambulance Victoria spokesperson said paramedics were called to the scene at around 1:40pm. The man was transported to the Royal Melbourne Hospital by road ambulance.
Previous Bacchus Marsh resident Daniel Brown, who was one of many witnesses that pulled the victim from the water, said he noticed people diving frantically into the river.
“Me and Matthew Attard swam across the river to help, we dove and dove, and then my feet felt [the victim],” he said.
“I swam up and alerted everyone who was looking. I dove again until I felt his lifeless body… I tried to pull his heavy body from the mud at the bottom of the river, about 2.5 to 3-metres deep, but I couldn’t do it.
“Then Matt tried, and he got him off the bottom, but also couldn’t bring him to the surface. A couple of other guys got him up and we all dragged him up onto the rocks. His face was in a shocked look, but he was blue with open bloodshot eyes, tiny pupils and his whole body heavy…. he was dead”.
Mr Brown said a nurse, who was fortunately at the river at the time, began to revive the victim.
“[The nurse] delivered the breaths while me, Matt and another took turns giving compressions. After about five to seven minutes, and a lot of expelled water, he took his first breath.
“We continued CPR for about a minute or two until he started to breath for himself. It was slow but deep breaths and we got a pulse; the colour came back to his face, but he was in a coma. Emergency services arrived to take over, and after assessing him with machines he was taken away”.
Mr Brown said he didn’t know how to describe his feelings at the time of the accident.
“It’s like nothing I’ve ever felt or seen before,” he said.
“This was my first time bringing someone back from the dead”.
A representative from Royal Melbourne Hospital said the victim is now in a stable condition.
Other rescuers known to The Moorabool News include Carl Digiglio and Ann Rust.