Grantham’s Shandi and Robert Wilkins with their three girls, Kayla, 10, Alyssa, 5, and Tanisha, 1. Robert helped rescue people off the rail bridge.
Grantham’s Shandi and Robert Wilkins with their three girls, Kayla, 10, Alyssa, 5, and Tanisha, 1. Robert helped rescue people off the rail bridge. Claudia Baxter

Man hailed a hero in floods

ROBERT Wilkin doesn't regard himself as a hero but his family and four of his neighbours certainly do.

Mr Wilkin was at his family home in Grantham on Monday afternoon when he saw a huge wall of water coming his way.

Without another second of thought he got his wife and three young children, including their four-year-old god-child, out of the house and told them to run to the town's highest point, just over the railway line.

“Looking back I was just living my life second by second. I had no idea what was going to happen but I knew what was coming was awful,” he said.

Mr Wilkin risked his own safety to run back to his shed, started up his boat and took off through the gushing floodwater to save his neighbours.

“I could see some old fella, about 70, walking down the street along Citrus Street and knew he would die if I didn't get to him,” he said.

“I couldn't do that.”

Mr Wilkin powered his boat in the man's direction and picked him up – just as the floodwater reached him – and threw him in the boat.

“I made my way up to the railway line where four people were hanging on as the water was gushing past them at a high speed,” he said. “I could only fit two more of them in my boat and was so worried about the two people I left.”

Hours later the family was reunited at the emergency evacuation centre at the Grantham State School.

“I was so happy to see my family and know they were safe.... I found out later the two people who were at the fence, that I couldn't get, were safe too so that's amazing,” he said.

Mr Wilkin's wife Shandi yesterday told The Queensland Times how proud she was of her husband.

“He was just amazing, we are so proud of him,” she said.

“We have lost everything, our house, our cars but we still have each other.”



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