Life

By Richard Ashmore

Being stuck in the mud was no game for this worker who could barely breathe after his digger rolled into deep water.

Daniel Miller, 45, was excavating on his property at Charlotte Bay, New South Wales, Australia when the machine tipped into a dam-trapping him in the process.

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This was the view of Westpac Rescue Helicopter air crewman, Graham Nickisson who arrived at the scene after neighbours eventually heard screaming between each breath.

Graham said: “His excavator slid sideways into a small dam and he was trapped with his airways or nose or mouth just above the water.

“I believe he was there for two hours before his neighbours heard his calls for help.

“It was only a small dam so they could lower the water level, thank God.”

The landowner was just centimetres from having his entire airways submerged under water with his nostrils bobbing on the surface.

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The emergency services were called at around 2.40pm when a concerned neighbour realised something was wrong.

Mr Miller was treated by the NSW Ambulance service who described his injuries as minor and treated him for back pain and hypothermia.

Chief Inspector Neil Stephens said: “Only a part of his nose and face was above water, he’s lucky to be alive in all honesty.”

Howard, from Fire and Rescue NSW, said: “I don’t know how he’s done it, obviously it was his will power to live.”

To save Mr Miller, the Rural Fire Service pumped out water from the dam so he could be carefully released from the heavy machinery anchoring him down.

The driver remains in a stable condition at John Hunter Hospital where he was driven immediately after being pulled out the dam.