Trevor Davis untied his lifeline to reach a man trapped in a car in a flooded Queensland river, but he wasn't concerned.
"I wasn't worried about being swept away. There were plenty of trees around. I was worried about not being able to get to him in time," Mr Davies, one of this year's Bravery Medal award winners, told AAP.
In March 2012 Mr Davies was at Gutchy Creek, north of Gympie, when he saw an older man swept away in his car while trying to cross the swollen waterway.
He drove to his partner's nearby house, grabbed a cable and went back to the creek to rescue the man.
When he returned the car was submerged so Mr Davies tied the cable to himself and anchored it on a guide post.
But the makeshift lifeline was too short.
Mr Davis untied himself and struggled against a strong current towards the driver.
"When I got him out of the car I thought I had saved him," Mr Davis said.
Unfortunately, he hadn't.
"He was alive. He then made this big sigh of relief and started convulsing. It all went downhill from there."
The driver had stopped breathing and Mr Davis tried to perform CPR in the rushing waters but he was unable to revive the man.
"I was disappointed it ended that way," the 44-year-old from Gundiah said.
After recovering the man and trying CPR Mr Davis stood on the fork of a submerged tree holding the driver, the Australian Bravery Decorations Council said.
"Three other persons who had arrived at the side of the floodway threw Mr Davis a rope which he used to tie the victim to a tree before he himself was pulled to safety."
On Monday he will be named as one of 22 Australians awarded the medal "for acts of bravery in hazardous circumstances".
Mr Davis is heartened by the award but wants to raise people's awareness about crossing flooded roads.
"If you see floodwaters, stay away. Otherwise others will have to jump in after you."