BBC News

Australian man trapped in pond with nose just above water

media captionDaniel Miller: "I watched a cricket climb up a piece of grass"

An Australian man has survived spending hours struggling to keep his nose above water after his excavator rolled into a waterhole.

Daniel Miller, 45, had been riding the machine at his remote property 300km (180 miles) north of Sydney.

When the edge of the dam gave way, the farmer was pinned down by a bar on the three-tonne excavator.

Mr Miller said he adopted a yoga pose - arching his back for air - until a neighbour 500m away heard him shouting.

"I was trapped and had to keep my head up above water using my arms, I guess it was the cobra position," he told Sydney's Daily Telegraph.

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"I'm not a yogi but I guess you could say yoga saved my life. That and the will to live."

Rescue crews said the ordeal on Tuesday lasted two hours, but Mr Miller's wife, Saimaa, wrote on Facebook it was five hours.

Mr Miller said he spent "the whole time" thinking about returning to his wife and their two young children.

image captionMr Miller was pinned down by a bar on the excavator

Police chief inspector Neil Stephens said only Mr Miller's nose and forehead were above the water.

"He's been extremely lucky to survive," he told Nine News.

Firefighters drained some mud and water before wading in to free Mr Miller.

"How he kept his back arched with his nose above the waterline was quite incredible for that amount of time," said Fire and Rescue New South Wales deputy captain Steve Howard.

'Sheer mental strength'

Mr Miller was taken by helicopter to a hospital in the nearby city of Newcastle, where he was treated for hypothermia and minor back injuries.

"Dan is OK!" Ms Miller wrote online.

"He was trapped... with the weight of his excavator on his back, and with the boggy dam ground below him slowly slipping away.

"It was literally sheer mental strength and determination to survive that got him through. As well as being fit, strong and healthy. Nothing to do with luck.

"Legendary effort from a legendary man."

image captionMr Miller was taken to hospital and remains in a stable condition

Related Topics

  • Australia