Mother and daughter praised for helping elderly man who fell into creek
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Mother and daughter praised for helping elderly man who fell into creek

A mother and daughter have been praised for jumping into a creek to hold an elderly man above the water, after his mobility scooter fell six metres down an embankment and he landed in the creek.

The 87-year-old man and his wife were each riding their mobility scooters along a path at Cooranbong, near Newcastle, at about 3pm on Saturday when the woman noticed her husband was no longer behind her.

Leah Hodge (left) and her mother Elizabeth Branster helped an elderly man who fell in a creek.

Leah Hodge (left) and her mother Elizabeth Branster helped an elderly man who fell in a creek.Credit:NBN News

His scooter had somehow left the path and he had fallen into Dora Creek, sustaining serious injuries.

Leah Hodge and her mother Elizabeth Branster told NBN News they were walking along the path, the first time they had walked that particular route, when they came across the scene.

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"I noticed this elderly gentleman was holding a stump that was sticking up out of the water for grim death," Ms Branster said. "He was starting to lose his grip on this tree trunk that he was holding onto ... I do believe we got there at a critical time."

Both women climbed into the water, Ms Hodge to waist-high and Ms Branster to chest-high, and held the man up. The mother and daughter kept a firm hold, with other people soon running to help.

"It was quite intense for a while there," Ms Hodge said. "I was actually just praying in my head that he would be OK."

Ms Branster said she has done a first aid course, which is a "marvellous thing", and she was able to use some of her skills in this situation. She said it's fortunate the man's badly-damaged scooter didn't land on top of him.

"One minute we're having a quiet stroll, next moment we're saving somebody's life basically," Ms Branster said.

Inspector Grahame Rathbone from NSW Ambulance said the man fell five or six metres, sustaining significant injuries and losing some skin.

The first paramedics on the scene also entered the water to help the man, before Fire and Rescue NSW, the Rural Fire Service and police used rescue equipment to pull him out.

The 87-year-old was treated for suspected spine, rib and pelvis injuries and taken to John Hunter Hospital in a stable condition.

Inspector Rathbone said the members of the public who assisted the man were "exceptional" and if they had not been there it could have been a very different outcome.

"They should be commended," he said. "It was a great team effort from all emergency services on scene."

In a statement, NSW Police said the man’s injuries are not considered life-threatening and his scooter has been retrieved.

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