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Father-to-be fought flood and survived raging river

Armando Laarhoven with his car that was washed into the river. Photo: John Gass / Daily News
Armando Laarhoven with his car that was washed into the river. Photo: John Gass / Daily News John Gass

A 32-YEAR-old father to be was lucky to be alive after a torrent of floodwater washed his car into a surging Tweed creek last week.

Greenmount resident Armando Laarhoven's car was hit on Pottsville Rd, about 2km north of Mooball, about 8pm on Sunday.

"It was like some horrible movie," he said.

Mr Laarhoven said a wave of floodwater rushed down a hill and onto the road, sending his car careering into Mooball Creek.

"A gully of water came from the mountain range and sideswiped my driver's side passenger door," Mr Laarhoven said.

Mr Laarhoven said he acted immediately, crawling through an open window into the creek as his car filled with water and he was taken by strong currents into the darkness.

He said he fought desperately for about 20 minutes, grasping at trees until he finally found a rock to cling to on the side of the creek. "I was afraid if I didn't find something to grab onto and get out I'd be dead."

Mr Laarhoven said he found the strength to lift himself from the creek, determined to stay alive for his mother Maria Laarhoven and pregnant girlfriend Kaya Hanson.

"I was praying to God I could get out of this."

Once on land Mr Laarhoven collapsed.

"I broke down in tears when I got out and just cried and cried," he said.

"I was so happy to be alive for people I love."

Topics:  editors picks floods 2013 greenmount lismore oswald


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