Ute driver hopes to thank teen rescuers

20:20, Feb 11 2013
ute crash landscape
HEROES: Two boys pulled a man from this submerged vehicle yesterday.

A driver rescued from his submerged ute by teenagers will be released from hospital today.

Andrew Tobeck was driving home on Monday afternoon when he apparently blacked out and crashed his ute into a river.

Amazingly, two 14-year-olds swimming nearby saw the crash and raced to the unconscious driver's rescue.

Andrew Tobeck
BLACKED OUT: Drive Andrew Tobeck says he owes the teens "a big thank you".

Liam Robinson and Angus Bailey had cycled down to the Halswell River at Greenpark, near Lincoln, for a dip.

They had just leapt into the water when they heard the sound of a crash about 100 metres away at 5.40pm yesterday.

A Toyota Hilux travelling in River Rd had crashed into the river and had filled with water up to the steering wheel.


Angus Bailey and Liam Robinson
BRAVE BOYS: Angus Bailey and Liam Robinson have been hailed by police and the prime minister.

Tobeck, 30, was unconscious and slumped forward in the driver's seat, face down in the water.

Liam and Angus biked to the scene and finding the ute partly submerged jumped in.

Senior Constable Jim Manning said the pair managed to open the cab door and pull Tobeck out and onto the bank.

"The pair have shown incredible presence of mind, and there's no doubt their actions have helped to saved the driver's life.''

Liam ran to a nearby house to raise the alarm.

Yesterday, Tobeck was in a comfortable condition in Christchurch Hospital being treated for concussion and moderate injuries.

Speaking from his hospital bed Tobeck said he owed Angus and Liam "a big thank-you".

He had just left work at a nearby horse stud and was five minutes from home when he crashed.

He recalled driving around a bend near the river, but then said he "blacked out".

His next memory is waking up in an ambulance on the way to Christchurch Hospital.

Hearing what Angus and Liam did made him realise how lucky he was, he said.

Tobeck said he planned to thank the teenagers for their "heroic" efforts in person.

"It's pretty cool what they did. They deserve something for it." 

Tobeck said he suffered bruising from the seatbelt and concussion.

He expected to be discharged today.

"It's made me appreciate more what I've got. Those things give you a new lease on life."

The Lincoln Volunteer Fire Brigade who attended the scene and looked after Tobeck until an ambulance arrived.

His brother, Dean Tobeck, said the family were incredibly grateful to the two teenagers.

He said his brother owed his life to them. ''It's pretty amazing what those guys did. If it weren't for them, he would have drowned.''

He said his brother, who had celebrated his 30th birthday last week, could not remember anything of the crash.

''He can remember crossing the bridge a couple of hundred metres before the crash. The next thing he remembers is waking up halfway to hospital in an ambulance,'' he said.

''There's no skid marks. It's like he blacked out.''

He said his brother had been told of the teenagers' efforts and was ''very grateful".

His younger brother, Simon Tobeck, said ambulance staff had told the family that if he had been left there another two minutes he would have died.

''We could have been planning a funeral,'' he said.

The teenagers' parents said they were proud of what their sons had done.

Corinne Bailey said that when her son phoned her and told her what had happened she almost could not believe it.

''I don't think he realises what he did really. They seem to take it in their stride.''

She said the ditch where Tobeck crashed was ''massive'' and she hated driving around there.