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Australian woman hides from fire by diving into pool

The fires consuming Australia have been the number 1 topic in the media in recent weeks, but this incredible story of a woman who survived the conflagration by hiding underwater in her backyard swimming pool is only now being featured in more global headlines. On New Year’s Day, at around 10.30am, Samantha Kneeshaw received a
Published: January 16, 2020 - 11:15
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 19:08
Australian woman hides from fire by diving into pool

The fires consuming Australia have been the number 1 topic in the media in recent weeks, but this incredible story of a woman who survived the conflagration by hiding underwater in her backyard swimming pool is only now being featured in more global headlines.

On New Year’s Day, at around 10.30am, Samantha Kneeshaw received a call from a neighbour warning that a bushfire was spreading towards their property. The 45-year-old woman hastily devised a rescue plan and proceeded to implement it. She first watered the entire area around the property, and when the fire had already engulfed the 30-metre-high eucalyptus trees across the road, she grabbed her scuba gear and decided to hide in the pool.

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When the fire reached her property the woman was home alone. Fortunately, the rest of the family, including her two children, had left before word of the fire spread. Seeking to save herself, the Australian woman took her scuba diving equipment and jumped into the backyard pool. It worked! The fire consumed both part of the buildings and the chickens kept by the family, but not her life!

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It should be noted that Mrs Kneeshaw did not have the time or probably a set of equipment at her disposal. Fortunately, there was a cylinder and a vending machine in the house, which proved crucial. Trying to control her breathing and emotions, the woman took cover in a small pool while ashes fell into the water every so often.

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“I didn’t have a mask, so I couldn’t see exactly what was happening. The house was obscured by black smoke. I could only see the flames raging above it. It must have been the trees across the road. There were also several explosions, these were trucks parked at the neighbours’ house. I had to take cover under water because of the embers and ashes that were literally everywhere,” – Kneeshaw reported calmly

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Afterwards, it turned out that the house had survived with almost no damage. Much of this was due to the fire pump and roof sprinkler system she had installed some time earlier. When the worst was over, she would get out of the water to extinguish the areas where the fire was still burning, then return to the pool where she could relax and breathe the air from the diving cylinder.

“My husband went through hell. The whole time he thought I was dead. He was cut off and couldn’t do anything. But I’m glad he didn’t come back and we didn’t have to risk both of us. We only had one dive kit at home. As a result, our children still have both parents,” – the woman stated.

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Source: theaustralian.com.au
Photo: Samantha Keenshaw Facebook

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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