Hero cop recognised for rescuing drowning farmer

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He had been shouting for help for about 20 minutes before his wife, Anne, heard him and called 000 for help. Mr Watkins was flown to Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital, where he remained in the intensive care unit for a number of days. “I just did what I had to do, stripped off my clothes and just jumped into the dam and swum out to him,” he said.He dragged Mr Watkins out of the river, stripped him off and threw a blanket over him, just as the paramedics arrived. (Supplied: Mitch Parker)
Three years on from the heroic rescue, Senior Constable Parker is being honoured with a Royal Life Saving Society Australia Commendation Award. I just couldn’t move,” he said.Senior Constable Parker said Mr Watkins’s wife was at the side of the dam in a panicked state. Senior Constable Parker said working in a country town, he was used to going it alone. I was getting updates through police radio and the instructions I was given, you know, a typical farmer’s property,” he said.”Go in the first gate, go in the second gate, but if you’ve gone past the fourth gate … I just couldn’t get in there.”So I just punched the work truck through the fence to get there to help him out.”Senior Constable Parker said he had not hesitated before he drove through the barbed wire fence.”I guess it’s a little bit easier when it’s a work car and not your own car,” he said.Mr Watkins said he had been relieved to see the officer because he knew his time was running out. “I was just, bringing all this stuff up from my lungs. Photo:
Farmer Bob Watkins ended up in the ICU after becoming stuck in the dam for almost half an hour. A police officer who dived into a freezing dam to save the life of a farmer has been recognised three years on for his bravery. “I got the right man at the right time,” he said. He will receive the award at Government House in Sydney next week.Mr Watkins said after the incident, he and his wife had written to the police to recommend the senior constable for an award. He’s a brave young man.” ‘I wouldn’t have made it’Senior Constable Parker was only five minutes away when he got the call. On July 27, 2015, Dungog Police senior constable Mitch Parker was called to Monkerai farmer Bob Watkins’s property.The farmer had fallen from his dinghy into the dam as he tried to replace the foot valve on the dam’s pump. (Supplied: Bob Watkins)
“If it had been a couple of minutes later, I wouldn’t have made it.”Mr Watkins said he was a strong swimmer, but the freezing water was too much. “Working in these areas, you’re used to working with low resources,” he said.”It was the only option avaliable to me at the time.”Right man at the right time

Photo:
Senior Constable Mitch Parker (L), with his wife Senior Constable Sarah Gentle and retired commissioner Andrew Scipione. “I was just lucky he was young and he was super fit and he could do it. “It was quite difficult. It was the middle of winter, he was dressed in heavy clothes, and was running short on energy and time.
(Supplied: Bob Watkins) ABC Newcastle

By

Annabelle Regan

Posted

July 24, 2018 15:12:45

Photo:
Senior Constable Mitch Parker rescued farmer Bob Watkins from this dam.
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