“Thunderous water gushed all around me. I surrendered my body as I was swept away by the ravaging floodwaters. I saw my life playing out like a series of snapshots. I knew I couldn’t get to safety and so I let go…”
Before the Bali Bombings, the Tsunami and 9/11 there was the Swiss Canyoning Disaster – the single largest peacetime tragedy offshore in Australian history. Twenty-one people lost their lives at Saxetenbach Gorge in Interlaken, Switzerland on July 27, 1999 when a sudden, pronounced downpour swelled the mountain stream into a torrent.
The raging muddy waters swept three guides and eighteen participants to their death including fourteen young Australians. Tiffany Johnson, was one of the survivors who were in the water when the flood hit who somehow managed to survive that day. Wedged between a boulder and a log, gasping for air, having sustained life changing injuries, she watched as her dead friends floated by.
Brave Enough Now deals with the tragedy, how Tiffany came to find herself there on that day and how it changed her life. As a result of her injuries (including the loss of her pancreas), Tiffany lives with insulin dependent diabetes and is now on a pump that regulates insulin into her blood stream – essentially keeping her alive.
The book also includes the moving speech from the then Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia, Sir William Deane which is now a part of the NSW HSC curriculum. Titled “It Is Still Winter At Home” the speech details the significant loss to Australia at the time and is a poignant end to a beautiful book.
Published by Independent Ink the book on July 15, 2019 it retails for $29.95. A book launch event was held in September 2019 at Parliament House, Victoria.
The prologue of Brave Enough Now is available to media to publish on the anniversary of the disaster. This is a moving piece outlining the moment Tiffany found herself a part of the Swiss Canyoning Disaster and her life changed forever.