Flood water hit the town of Shepparton and rose rapidly, much faster and higher than earlier reports had predicted. 18-year-old Jack Stagg and his mate Digby Innes-Irons, took Stagg’s boat out to assess the damage that the floodwaters had caused to the town, whilst they were out they saw a post on Facebook from an older man who was stuck in his house with his child, requesting assistance. They quickly diverted to go and see how they could help assist the man and his child. Little did Stagg know that the initial answer of help would turn into an 11-hour rescue mission.
After the initial rescue Stagg put a post on the community flood page on Facebook offering to help others in need. It didn’t take long for people to start reaching out for help. Not long after the initial rescue, another plea for help was issued. Already out on the water, Stagg responded and helped evacuate another to safety. Not long after this, another call … and another. The calls didn’t stop there, with calls pouring in Stagg soon turned to his friends sister for assistance, dubbing her the “receptionist”, while he continued to help people evacuate their homes and ferry them to safety.
Stagg says the motivation behind the rescues and the thoughts that kept him going for over 11 hours was that “ …we were so worried about all the little kids that would be scared and stuck with families that didn’t want to leave.”
After 11 hours of responding to people’s calls for help Stagg and his friends had evacuated more than 40 people and their pets, from their flooding homes and to the safety of dry land.
What started out as two friends going out to assist a single family soon turned into a night-long rescue mission, starting just before dark and continuing until the sun came up, truly digging deep to serve their community in a desperate time of need. Stagg said of the houses they attended to “Water was up past their doors so it was coming in [to the houses] or it was only inch’s before it started to come in.”
In response, the local community has rallied around Stagg and his friends showing their appreciation for the young men.
Assisting Jack Stagg with the rescues were: Jay Tozer, Mitch Carter, Digby Innes-Irons and Kurtis Clark.