TOOWOOMBA worker Jamie Farmer and two passers-by had less than two minutes to save the life of an elderly woman who was unconscious and trapped in a car sinking in a dam.
Mr Farmer, 46, was driving to Brisbane when he saw the 81-year-old woman's car involved in a crash with another car and veer down an embankment on the Warrego Hwy at Plainland at 11.20am on Tuesday.
Her Holden Commodore hit a dirt mound, became airborne and launched into a roadside dam.
Mr Farmer quickly did a U-turn. He and two other motorists - an off-duty police officer, 46, and a man in his mid-20s - swam out to the woman's sinking car.
"She was unconscious and sitting in water up to her chest," he said.
The younger man used a bar to smash the driver's side window as the water pressure jammed the doors shut.
The trio could not undo the woman's seatbelt and pulled her limp body through the seatbelt and out the window.
"I thought she was dead at that stage," Mr Farmer said.
"Her eyes were open, but rolled into the back of her head."
They swam her to shore and Mr Farmer returned to the fully-submerged car to check for passengers.
"From the time the car hit the water to the time it sank was no more than two minutes," he said.
"The biggest thing I was worried about was if there were kids in the car being school holidays.
"I dived in again to see if I could feel anyone else inside because being dam water you couldn't see through it."
Paramedics took the Regency Downs woman to the Ipswich Hospital where she was in a stable condition yesterday. She had a head injury and had swallowed water.
Mr Farmer said the incident had his adrenalin pumping.
He works as a welding supervisor for Russell Mineral Equipment in Toowoomba and travels to Brisbane once a week to check on jobs.
Emergency services have praised the trio for saving the woman's life.