Two teenagers who leapt into the Halswell River and saved the life of a motorist who could have drowned say there was no time to think about being brave.
Liam Robinson and Angus Bailey, both 14, from Greenpark, are being hailed as heroes after pulling unconscious driver Andrew Tobeck, 30, out of his half-submerged ute yesterday.
Mr Tobeck, a farm hand, also lives in Greenpark.
It was about 5.40pm on the hot summer's day when the teenagers headed to the river for a swim.
Liam said: "We'd just got down there when I heard this truck, it was like a roaring sound. I saw the lights on top of the truck and then they disappeared down the bank. So I hopped on my bike to go have a look. I said to Angus 'I think a car's just gone into the river'."
Angus said: "When we saw the truck we just looked at each other and sprinted."
He said instinct took over. "In that moment you just know what to do, you don't think about it."
Liam, who often swims in local rivers, didn't hesitate to jump into the deep water.
He said: "I couldn't see anyone in the truck, so I went down there. I could see his body floating in the passenger seat. I said to Angus 'Quickly, quickly, follow me'.
"I was yelling out to the man to see if he would wake up."
The friends said Mr Tobeck was not wearing a seatbelt and was laying face down in the water.
Liam reached through the open window and grabbed him.
"The water was just below neck deep. I held his head up first and shook him.
"He didn't look too good, his eyes had rolled into the back of his head."
The two teenagers wrenched open the door against the flowing water, pulled Mr Tobeck out and dragged him onto the bank.
"We both had to open the door. The truck was blocking the path of the water flow," said Liam.
"I went and checked to see if there was anyone else in the back seat ."
As Mr Tobeck lay on the bank he wasn't breathing, said Liam. '
"We got him onto the bank and Angus said 'I'll hold him in the recovery position'. I said 'I'll go down the road and get an ambulance'."
Angus said it was difficult holding up Mr Tobeck's weight on the slippery bank.
"I was trying to snap him out of it, I smacked him on the cheek and kept talking to him. But he was making this weird breathing rhythm that didn't sound too good."
Said Liam: "I went to some lady's house, I knocked on the door and said 'There's a truck in the river and a man on the bank, can we please have an ambulance?'
"She called the ambulance and I went back. I stopped a car and a man got out and helped me. [Mr Tobeck] was starting to moan by that stage."
Police, fire and ambulance staff arrived shortly after and Mr Tobeck was taken to Christchurch Hospital.
Senior Constable Jim Manning said the boys definitely deserved to receive an award for their bravery.
"They didn't worry about getting someone else, they just dived in. And they went back in to see if someone else was in the vehicle, because that's what they were worried about. It's pretty impressive stuff. They saved his life. If they hadn't of dived in and got him out he'd be dead."
Angus and Liam were pleased at the idea of a bravery award, but bravery didn't come into it at the time, they said.
Said Liam: "It just snapped into my head that I should get down there and see what had happened and save this man. I didn't really think. There was no time to think."
Mr Tobeck's father, Paul Tobeck, said yesterday his son was still in hospital but had only minor injuries such as bruising.
He said: "He's quite with it. He's more annoyed and peeved off that he did it.
"He remembers hopping in the truck, putting the seat belt on, going over the bridge and then nothing."
Paul Tobeck was happy to support a nomination for Liam and Angus's bravery.
"I would agree with it, and I would back it. So would Andrew.
"If it hadn't of been for the boys I could be organising a funeral," he said.
"It's not very often a couple of young kids [do something like this], most times people stand at the top of the bank and look."
He said: "I hope these boys get the recognition they deserve."
Paul Tobeck said he and his son would be buying Liam and Angus a $50 voucher from Hornby Mall each to say thank you.
Investigations into the cause of the crash are ongoing.