Australia floods: 'little hero’ Jordan Rice buried
Published 19/01/2011 | 14:00
Jordan Rice, the Australian teenager who died during the Queensland floods after insisting rescuers save his younger brother first was a "hero" confronting his "biggest fear".
Paying tribute to him at his funeral, Chris Rice, 22, said his brother was a “little hero” whose “heart, courage and love” had made the family fiercely proud.
Jordan, 13, died with his mother Donna moments after telling rescuers to winch his brother Blake, 10, to safety, and then come back for his mother.
He had been determined to be rescued last after a flash flood roared through the town of Toowoomba on January 10 and swept away the family car, with Ms Rice and her two sons inside.
But by the time the rescuers returned, the rope holding Ms Rice and Jordan had snapped, dumping them into the raging torrent, where they both drowned.
On Wednesday mother and son were buried in the same grave in matching white coffins during a ceremony in Toowoomba, west of Brisbane.
Chris Rice noted that he had teased Jordan – nicknamed Weedsy – for being scared of water as a child.
“You were so shy, always hanging off Mum,” he said. “You were petrified of water, heights and even the dark. How wrong was I – here you go losing your life from one of your biggest fears to save your little brother.
“You made me so proud. What you did took heart, courage and love.
“You’re my little hero. I love you Weedsy. You will always be missed mate but I take comfort in the fact that you’ve got Mum there with you, taking care of you.”
John Tyson, Jordan’s father described Miss Rice, his partner of 28 years, as “the perfect mum”, while Jordan was “loving and very protective’.
“I don’t think I can put into words just how much I’ll miss them,” he said.
“The fire in my heart will continue to burn until my time comes to join them.
“God speed, my little angels.”
The funeral of Ms Rice and Jordan was the first to be held since the devastating flash flood roared through the Lockyer Valley last week, killing at least 20 people.
Ten-year-old Blake, whose life was saved by Jordan, was one of the pall-bearers. Hundreds of mourners attended the funeral, including Warren McErlean, the rescuer who tried to save all three members of the family.
Mr Tyson asked for his son’s coffin to be buried on top of Miss Rice’s.
“It’s symbolic of him being in his mother’s arms,” he said.
“If there is one bit of comfort I can take out of the whole situation it is that neither of them will be alone.”