The twin-cab ute in which Fordsdale man Darryl Kachel, 69, plunged to his death on Wednesday night, is removed from a neighbouring farmer’s dam.
The twin-cab ute in which Fordsdale man Darryl Kachel, 69, plunged to his death on Wednesday night, is removed from a neighbouring farmer’s dam. Melanie Maeseele

Drowning rescue attempt doomed

FRIENDS tried desperately but in vain to pull their 69-year-old neighbour from his ute as it sank to the bottom of a dam.

The close-knit Lockyer Valley community of Fordsdale, about 20km west of Gatton, is mourning the tragic death of Darryl Kachel, a well-loved man described as “a top bloke”.

Mr Kachel died when his white Toyota Hilux dual-cab ute slid into a dam on his neighbour's property off Gatton-Clifton Rd.

He had visited his neighbour and good friend, as he regularly did, on Wednesday night, moments before his ute slid into a four-metre-deep dam.

His close friend, also aged in his sixties, jumped in after Mr Kachel, about 6.30pm, but was forced to resurface without his mate.

Gatton Police Officer Sergeant Tony Harm said Mr Kachel, the sole occupant of the dual-cab ute, was able to get his head and arm out of the car's window but wasn't able to escape before the vehicle sank.

“He had no chance of getting out,” Sgt Harm said.

“A male friend who lives at the house tried to help him out but his attempts were unsuccessful.”

Neighbours said Mr Kachel suffered from emphysema.

Police divers arrived at the property as the sun came up yesterday and retrieved his body.

Neighbour Wayne Walker said Mr Kachel's death was a tragedy.

“When I heard what happened, I couldn't believe it, it's such a shock,” Mr Walker said. “Darryl has lived out here all his life. He is retired, but he worked hard.

“He had a dairy farm, then gave that away before he started growing pumpkins.”

Neighbours said Mr Kachel lived alone in an old Queenslander that was built by his father.

Bev Sutton, also a neighbour, had known Mr Kachel her entire life.

“He was a fun, jovial old man. Certainly well-loved by the community,” Mrs Sutton said.

“He was one of those characters that has been here all his life. You always saw him out and about doing one thing or another. I guess he won't be now.”

Mrs Sutton said Mr Kachel's death was “another tragic death in water”.

“It's all a bit sad,” she said.

Seventeen people died in January when a wall of water tore through the neighbouring town Grantham.

The Forensic Crash Unit is investigating Mr Kachel's death.



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