How Hawthorn premiership hero survived falling into dangerous floodwaters despite being BLIND – as ordeal leaves him in hospital for a month with severe burns
- Ian Law won flag with Hawks in 1961
- 84-year-old lucky to survive fall into river
- Law was rescued after hours in the water
Hawthorn legend Ian Law is lucky to be alive after the 84-year-old spent hours struggling to stay afloat when he fell into raging floodwaters on the NSW/Victoria border recently.
Despite being blind, the ex-Hawk managed to dodge debris in the Darling River near Wentworth, NSW until he was rescued by people who spotted him struggling from a boat in early March.
Law has so far spent three weeks recovering in hospital after swallowing large amounts of water and suffering severe sunburn on his head as the current took him seven kilometres downstream while he fought for his life.
Law – who played a starring role in guiding the Hawks to their first flag in 1961 – had a miraculous escape from raging floodwaters recently
He was blinded when a branch he was cutting down on his property struck him on the head several years ago.
His wife Barbara – who raised the alarm when she discovered he’d gone missing from their home – says her husband’s dedication to staying fit and ability to stay calm instead of panicking is likely what saved him.
‘I saw his footprints and I thought, “Oh no, he’s gone to the river.” He couldn’t see that he wasn’t going down the usual track,’ she told the Herald Sun.
The police and fire brigade searched for Law and Barbara said they were ready to find his body in the water before he managed to grab onto a branch on the bank.
Law lives in Wentworth on the NSW/Victorian border, where the Darling River meets the Murray (pictured) – and the waterway was raging when he fell in
The recent flood in the Darling (pictured) took the Hawks champion seven kilometres downstream and cost him his front teeth
Remarkably, almost drowning and suffering the burns isn’t what left the biggest mark on the three-time club best and fairest winner.
‘The worst thing was he lost his top teeth. That’s what’s upsetting him more than anything,’ explained Barbara, who added that her husband should be in hospital for about another week before returning home.
A rover with the Hawks, Law played a starring role in driving the club to its first flag in 1961, when they beat Footscray in the grand final thanks in part to his two goals on the day.
He finished third in voting for the Brownlow Medal that year.
Law didn’t just excel at Aussie Rules, either, having played four cricket matches for Victoria as a batsman.
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