Cairns police overnight rescued a man from a bus that had crashed into a river known to contain crocodiles.
The accident occurred at about 6.45pm on Sunday, when a tourist bus and trailer crashed in Smiths Creek in Fearnley Street, with the interior of the cabin quickly filling with water.
A passing police patrol containing three plain clothes officers was on the scene within moments.
With no time to wait as the bus was filling with water and sinking into the mangrove mud, an officer stood on either side of the river looking for crocodiles, while the third officer entered the murky waters to rescue those on the bus.
The last sighting of crocodiles in the river took place in June.
Two other police patrols and the district duty officer were on the scene within minutes, shining car headlights into the water to help illuminate the search for passengers and to help search for crocodiles.
Fortunately, the bus was empty except for the male driver, who was trapped inside the cabin.
Police said it took several attempts before the officer was able to drag the driver out through the windscreen and to the safety of the embankment.
They provided first aid to the driver, a 36-year-old man, before he was transported to Cairns Base Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
District duty officer, Senior Sergeant Duane Amos, said the quick thinking of the officers involved likely saved the life of the bus driver.
“The rapid response by the officers, seeing the bus sinking and flooding the compartment area, has averted a tragedy on the quickly submerging bus.”