Rescuing 15 people from rooftops and trees in the devastating Queensland floods last year has earned a Victoria Point helicopter pilot a place in the book Great Australian Flood Stories.
This collection of 15 accounts of flood by ABC senior journalist Ian Mannix, relates the stories of Australians caught in flood, from Grantham to Mackay, Kempsey to Bullita Station.
The unassuming Peter Row, whose heroic feats have been featured in at least two books, threw caution to the wind when he lifted the Emergency Management helicopter Rescue 510, with three crew, off from the tarmac at Archerfield to join the flood rescue last year.
He was racing a helicopter pilot's two worst fears ? fading light and not much fuel, but Rescue 510 had to get airborne as people's lives were at stake.
January 10, 2011, was Peter's day off and he had gone into the Archerfield office for some night-vision goggle training, arriving around 5pm.
He was unaware that the disaster about to unfold would draw on every bit of the 51 year-old's 25 years of experience as a helicopter pilot.
Soon after he arrived at EMQ headquarters the emergency struck. Phones went "crazy", police and emergency people were in contact.
Rescue chopper 510 had to be in the air. It had been sitting on the tarmac and was not yet fully fuelled.
Peter, who took the role of captain, decided not to top up the fuel tanks as time was precious in the fading light.
As they flew over the ridge into the Lockyer Valley the sight was indescribable.
"We saw an inland ocean, a brown moving mass of water. We said: 'Holy shit, look at this'. The scene was unbelievable. None of us had ever seen anything like this before," Peter said.
Police directed Rescue 510 to Grantham and "we were over the town within 40 minutes of the first calls coming in".
"Trying to find people in the water was virtually impossible. If you go for people clinging to trees and roofs you might save 40, whereas if you look in the floodwater, you might save one.
"We started at one end of the town and worked our way along winching up kids first and them the mum."
Each rescue took about three minutes as it involved one of the two rescue crew going down the wire, harnessing up the survivor and winching them back to the helicopter.
Peter said the stories from these people were amazing.
"How an old couple managed to get through the manhole of their house and onto the roof. How people kicked off pieces of iron so they could get onto their roofs and not be trapped in ceilings. How people clung to trees for hours. How they fended off snakes which themselves were trying to find safety from the water."
"Some houses were tilted at alarming levels and people were clinging to the roof. We saw one house with another washed right up into it". Peter said the flood operation was the most demanding and most devastating of his career in flying rescue helicopters.
Great Australian Flood Stories is available from bookshops for $32.99.
Peter has always looked to the skies. He began flying in 1978 at the age of 18 and when he was taken for a joyride in a helicopter, he was hooked.