Wednesday, April 20, 2011

You've got to have "panic or distress" in your voice for police emergency operators to take you seriously???

Amazing behaviour

A TOOWOOMBA man says his wife and son may still be alive if their initial triple-0 call during the flood crisis was handled by a different operator.

John Tyson, whose wife, Donna Rice, and 13-year-old son, Jordan, were swept away in the January 10 flash flood, disputed claims his wife sounded calm during the call.

Mr Tyson and son Blake, 10, sat in the public gallery as the Queensland floods inquiry heard distressing recordings of two triple-0 calls, one from Donna Rice and a later one from Jordan. The police officer who responded to the first triple-0 call repeatedly castigated Ms Rice for driving through a flooded intersection minutes before their deaths. The first, in which Ms Rice phoned to report she was stranded in a car at an intersection, went unanswered for a long time. She then reported that water was up to the door of her car and she was stuck.

"Why did you drive through the flooded water?" the police officer, Senior Constable Jason Wheeler, asked. After taking down her details, Senior Constable Wheeler said emergency services had been receiving a huge number of calls.

Before the call ended, he said: "You shouldn't have driven through it in the first place, OK."

In the second phone call, several minutes later, Jordan Rice spoke to a Queensland Fire and Rescue Service operator. He initially had trouble describing where they were stuck and was asked to calm down: "No, we're scared. "We're nearly drowning, hurry up please."

Before the call cut out, there was a discussion about getting on to the roof of the car.

Senior Constable Wheeler, who took Mrs Rice's call at 1.49pm, said he had no appreciation she was in major danger. "There was no panic or distress in her voice," he said.

He said minor flooding had occurred at the same intersection in the past, and her request to him to call a tow truck did not suggest a sense of urgency.

Senior Constable Wheeler said he had told her to call a tow truck herself because the police service could not be seen to give preferential treatment to a particular towing company.

He reported himself to a welfare officer a day or two after the call, expressing concern he did not keep his frustration in check.

Mr Tyson spoke to the inquiry, saying his wife was "a guardian angel" and saying Jordan loved his family unconditionally.


1 comment:

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