Mr Schilles, Prime Minister Armin Laschet praised you in his address on Monday at the Steinbach dam.

Civil courage at the moment of need helped prevent another catastrophe.

How did you come up with the idea of ​​digging there?

Jonas Jansen

Business correspondent in Düsseldorf.

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I couldn't figure it out, they called me to ask if there was a way to drive into there.

With the hint that I need to know what to expect.

Because that is life-threatening.

You are the managing director of a civil engineering company in the region.

Dredging was a matter for the boss?

I can't take the risk of driving in there.

I knew what I was doing.

And that worked well with the help of God.

I don't want to be lifted on a bucket here, anyone else would have done that too.

Can you explain what exactly you did at the dam?

The wall of the dam is 18 meters high.

This is not a concrete wall, but a wall made of soil, gravel and stones that is paved from the water side so that it is waterproof.

Nothing would have happened if it hadn't overflowed.

But so the drain was closed on the bottom side.

That's why I stood at the bottom of the outlet pipe, 18 meters below the water level, and cleared the pipe.

The water was high in the dam, what would have happened if the dam had broken?

There would have been no chance of survival.

But it worked, water came out of the pipe at 6:31 p.m. on Thursday.

But wasn't that also dangerous the moment you opened the drain and the water came?

No, there are two slides that both have to be opened.

A very important man was Mr. Lorenz, he has to be mentioned.

He's a very fine person.

He went down into the tunnel and saw that he could release the slide by hand.

Otherwise it is electrically powered.

That was the man of the hour who was soaked in sweat.

I just gave him a chance for the water to run.

The action was a few days ago, and 6000 liters per second could flow through the drain - but the situation was still tense until Monday morning.

Now there is no longer any acute danger that the dam could break.

Are your excavators currently on the move elsewhere in the flood situation?

Those from the dam called that we should clear more space on the right and left in the foothills.

Otherwise we are always transporting garbage to the landfill with eight vehicles.

Free of charge, of course, that's a matter of honor for me.

We have zero damage.

Not even the stone on the front door is dirty, you can't get paid for it.

You are very humble.

How did you get the confidence that it would work?

We haven't been doing anything else since we were 19.

We are called to do this.

My twin brother and I started our own business in 1989 and today we employ 57 people.

But that was clear to do it yourself.

Laschet said you are 70 years old.

I'm 68 but a fountain of youth.

Every morning at five o'clock I'm the first to go to work.

You know, I am a believer.

I have blessed myself twice when I drove down.

'Lord, you need to know what's going on,' I said.

And I wasn't scared for a second.