An infant trapped in mud for around 24 hours after a landslide in southeastern Australia was rescued by a woman just moments before it swallowed mud and passed out.
Australia’s southeastern regions have been hit by deadly floods caused by heavy rain, leading to the declaration of a national emergency after at least 22 people lost their lives and tens of thousands were forced to evacuate their homes.
The child was found amid widespread devastation caused by a landslide that swept away homes in New South Wales’s Upper Main Arm Valley.
According to Australian weekly The Saturday Paper, the child was about to roll over in an unconscious state after catching mud in its mouth when Lisa Parkes spotted it.
“I could see a baby lying on top of the mud, and about 30 metres or 50 metres away, the parents, the mum and dad, were buried almost neck-deep in the mud, and they had been there for more than 24 hours,” said Ms Parkes, who had reached the spot after hearing the sound of the baby crying.
Ms Parkes is a former contestant of the reality entertainment show Ninja Warrior. The mother of three was part of a team of hikers and professional rock climbers searching for survivors in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales.
“The baby must have been ... about eight months, and it was impeccable timing, because it tried to roll over and had caught mud in its mouth and became unconscious,” the obstacle racer added.
She then pulled the baby from the mud and resuscitated it. “I had to clear its airways and resuscitate that baby in the middle of a landslide, while hanging from a rope, which I did,” she said.
After an emergency team was called, Ms Parkes started digging out the parents, who had been stuck for around 24 hours, unable to move or reach their child.
“It must have been, for them, the most horrific thing ever, having their child in front of them but not being able to hold on to them,” she said.
The family was then taken to the Queensland Children’s Hospital in Brisbane, where they underwent treatment and have reportedly made a full recovery.
However, the havoc wreaked by the heavy flooding in New South Wales has continued unabated, with some areas recording their highest ever levels of water.