A DREAM Bribie beach holiday turned into a nightmare for a group of four French tourists when they found out the hard way that cars don't float.
But Rick Williams did the island proud, rescuing the boys and taking them into his home.
Two of the four boys had been in Australia less than 48 hours when they found themselves stranded near Poverty Creek.
They had flown into Brisbane the night before, met with the other two boys, and taken off on their adventure holiday.
One of the boys, Aurelien Pasquier, had been living in Western Australia for the past six months before he fixed up his four-wheel drive and made the more than 5000km trek across the nation to meet his friends in Brisbane.
He said it took owner Rick Williams and the rest of the crew from Accident and Breakdown Towing nearly four hours to find them.
"We knew how we came here but we didn't know where we were," he said.
"We saw the spotties and we were very happy."
It was well after dark when they were finally rescued, as the tide and the cold closed in fast.
Rick said all these factors combined to make the rescue "really hard going".
"The tide was right in and all we had was probably four or five metres of sand," he said.
As you can see in the pictures, the car was well beyond salvage, as was a fridge, Aurelien's camera and a number of other bits and pieces.
But thanks to Rick's team they managed to escape with most of the essentials like passports and clothes and the good deeds didn't end there.
Rick didn't charge the boys for the rescue and then put them up in his own house for a week, also without charge.
"They're backpacking so you know they're not flush with cash," he said.
"When someone's been through a fairly traumatic experience you don't throw them out.
"It's the Aussie way."
While Aurelien and his friends' holiday didn't start out quite the way they'd planned; unlike their car, it's not beyond salvage.
They have hired a new vehicle and plan to head up the Fraser Coast to round out their trip.
And their Bribie experience wasn't all bad.
"They (Rick and his fiance Cheryl Fuller) have been very good with us," Aurelien said.
"I think after a few days we just started to call them Mum and Dad."
Amazingly, these four boys aren't the first stricken tourists Rick has plucked from the dunes and given a temporary home to.
Just two and a half months ago some Germans got themselves into a similar spot of bother and Rick housed and fed them for almost two weeks.
But it's not just international tourists getting into trouble on Bribie's fickle dunes.
Rick said he was called to rescue about one vehicle a week, mostly owned by people from south-east Queensland.
"The big problem is that they might have been here before but there's four lagoons and with the amount of rain we've had they've all changed," he said.
"They think they can go through but they get in there and they might have remembered it to be maybe 400mm deep.
"Instead of that they've driving through a metre of water."