The teens on the swollen Bremer River, heading for South Bank.
The teens on the swollen Bremer River, heading for South Bank.

Airbed stunt teens to repay SES

FOOLISH teenagers who tried to float from Ipswich to South Bank on inflatable mattresses have been ordered to repay the SES for fishing them out of the Bremer River.

The Bremer River was a raging torrent after Christmas due to persistent heavy rain and the fast-flowing water hid submerged and surface debris.

For weeks emergency services had warned people not to enter floodwaters as the elevated level of the river covered objects that would normally be high and dry from the banks.

But on December 27 three Ipswich friends decided it would be fun to buy $15 inflatable mattresses and try to ride them to South Bank, Brisbane – a 50km journey.

The teens donned board shorts, took off their shirts and entered Ironpot Creek which was lapping over the road at Sydney Street, Brassall.

From there they floated into the Bremer River and travelled 15km before being plucked from the water.

Numerous panicked witnesses yelled out to the teens to try to reach the bank.

Dozens of people also called triple-0 asking for police to rescue the three teens who were obliviously enjoying their paddle down the river.

An extensive emergency police operation was ordered, with four police crews tasked to rescue the teens.

Police called the State Emergency Service, who already had a flood boat in the Bremer River, and they picked up the teens in the river near the Tivoli Sports Complex.

Douglas Geoffrey Eustace, 18, Joshua David Jurd, 17, and Brenden Thomas McFarlane, 18 were charged with committing a public nuisance.

Eustace told police they “got into the water for fun and wanted to see how far they could get, possibly to South Bank”.

The trio admitted they heard people yelling at them to get out of the water and Eustace “thought people would think they were idiots”.

McFarlane said he hoped to travel to South Bank to meet mates, thought he would drown if he fell off the mattress and admitted it was very dangerous.

“He saw people waving and yelling at him to get out of the water but did not understand why they were yelling,” prosecutor Senior Constable Jo Colston said.

They were each ordered to perform 40 hours community service and pay $83.35 to the SES with no convictions recorded.

Defence lawyer Alexis Oxley said the escapade was completely out of character for her clients who had glowing references from employers.

Ms Oxley said the teens described the decision to float down the river as a “brain snap”.

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