The South Asian community is devastated after the gripping news of Ayaz Younus losing his life in the Sydney floods was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday. Ayaz, an engineering graduate from Pakistan, was on his way to work when his car became submerged in floodwaters in Sydney’s north-west. It was going to be his first day.
NSW Police revealed that around 6:25 am on Wednesday morning, triple zero responded to reports about a car trapped in floodwaters at Cattai Ridge Road, near Hidden Valley Lane, at Glenorie. It was Ayaz, he had left home in a new Toyota Camry hire car.
Ayaz was on the phone with a triple zero operator for 44 minutes before contact was lost, SMH reported.
Authorities arrived shortly after contact was lost but they were not able to locate his car. Almost seven hours later, police divers found the vehicle with the young man’s body inside at 1:10 pm. The car was submerged six metres underwater and had no broken windows.
“What’s happened is a complete tragedy,” NSW Detective Inspector Chris Laird told SMH. “The fact that he was on the phone for so long is even more tragic … a man that is possibly about to pass away, and he’s on the phone, and the water’s rising.”
“You can only just imagine somebody fighting for their life to get out of a car … he clearly couldn’t get out.”
While speculations surround why Ayaz couldn’t get out of the vehicle, NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys has said that a police investigation is underway and a report would be prepared for the coroner, which would examine factors including the car’s electrics and emergency services’ response time.
Mr Worboys added that Ayaz had been told about road barriers being up in the area, some of which were underwater at the time of the incident, the newspaper reported.
Ayaz Younus hailed from Karachi and lived in Sydney with his housemate Imran Ahmad who was the last person he had seen before he left for work that morning.
Mr Ahmad told the Herald that Ayaz was “a really nice person; he had a brilliant mind, would always take care of people, he was a hard worker. When he had nothing to do, he did community work.”
The young man had even signed up with his community to help with the post-flooding clean-up when waters would have receded.
Imran Ahmad said that Ayaz loved driving trucks, which was why he chose that field of work. He added that he would move out of the house that the pair lived in because “there are so many memories there, that’s the thing that hurts.”
Pakistan Association of Australia President Farhat Jaffri posted on Facebook that he had managed to contact Ayaz’s parents in Pakistan.
Another community leader, Danish Naqash expressed his disdain with the authorities’ response time. He told SMH that the community sought answers as to why it had taken police so long to reach Mr Younus.
“We are in a First World country and we couldn’t locate a car with a person?” he said.
The daily also reported that the Minister for Police David Elliott is expected to visit the Marsden Park Mosque next week to speak to the community.
A note of caution for those in our community living in flood-affected areas: Keep updated with SES warnings and orders. Visit www.ses.nsw.gov.au for evacuation updates and safety information, they are also on Facebook. Live traffic updates are available at livetraffic.com and for information about evacuation centres, visit www.ses.nsw.gov.au/news/all-news/2021/current-evacuation-centres.
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