A Sunbury police sergeant who helped rescue four people trapped in a Kinglake West house on Black Saturday says he was simply doing his job.
David Key, who recently retired after almost 30 years with the police air wing service, has been recognised with a medal and bar for acts of bravery in hazardous circumstances.
An air wing crew flew a helicopter to Coombs Road after reports that people were trapped by a firestorm surrounding the property.
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‘‘This property, where there were four people, was surrounded on three sides, but we felt like we had enough time to get one or two out,’’ Mr Key said.
“I went down on the winch to get the first one out and she said, ‘I’m not leaving without my dog’.’’
A STILL FROM CHANNEL 9 FOOTAGE SHOWS DAVID KEY BEING WINCHED DOWN TO THE KINGLAKE WEST PROPERTY AS THE FIRE APPROACHED.
Mr Key put the dog between them, but it panicked and ran away after they were hit by a strong gust full of embers.
‘‘She jumped off to get the dog and then the cable I was on went slack,’’ he said. “The helicopter was actually sinking because there wasn’t enough air.’’
The helicopter flew to a safer position, while Mr Key disconnected himself and helped the residents into vehicles. A horse trotted beside a car as the helicopter led the convoy to safety.
‘‘The fire was pretty much right on the property at this stage,’’ Mr Key said.
‘‘The helicopter guided us out to a clearing, away from the path of the fire.’’
Mr Key’s latest honour follows another he was awarded in 1999 for the six rescues he took part in during the treacherous 1998 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.