Farmer swims to safety after floodwater swamps car as she tries to move cattle
A farmer who became stranded in her car by floodwaters as she tried to move cattle has been rescued by helicopter after swimming to higher ground.
- Flood warnings are in place for parts of the NSW mid-north coast
- Heavy rain and thunderstorms are expected in several areas
- Locations which may be affected include Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Taree, Woolgoolga, Sawtell and Dorrigo
The Westpac rescue helicopter was able to land on the rural property at Wingham, on the New South Wales mid-north coast, to take the woman to safety.
Heavy downpours across the region have prompted the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) to issued several warnings, including for major flooding in the Hastings River at Kindee Bridge.
Steve Lawrence, from the NSW State Emergency Service (SES), said the woman’s car was inundated by rising water.
“The person swam through the flood water in terms of getting to dry ground,” he said.
“The Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter was able to land on that piece of inundated land and was able to extract that lady from that very dangerous situation.”
“Water rose very very quickly, the car was starting to become inundated.
“She left the car, swam through the localised flood water on her property to an island of unflooded land where the helicopter was able to successfully land and extract that person from the scene together with the help of the SES volunteers.”
The dramatic rescue came a day after police in Tasmania announced they had found the body of a farmer who was swept away in flood waters two years ago.
Trevor Foster, 81, died as rivers rose around his Ouse home in June 2016.
He was knocked to his feet while checking on livestock in his yard.
NSW SES deputy commissioner Greg Newton said the weather was expected to ease over the next 24 hours.
“The bureau has advised us that whereas earlier today we were looking at possibly 200mm of rain in some of those areas, it could drop back to 100mm now and then we’ll see the rain ease into tomorrow,” he said.
“We will still see flooding continue through late today, this evening and into the morning, tomorrow morning, as that water and rainfall makes its way to the rivers and continues down stream.”
A farmer caught out by rising floodwater at Wingham was rescued by helicopter. (Twitter: @Lifesaverhelo)
The BOM said heavy rain and thunderstorms — including falls in excess of 70mm in one hour — are possible in some locations.
An average of 230 millimetres of rain has been recorded in the past 48 hours over the Hastings River catchment.
The Oxley Highway at Long Flat is closed is both directions due to flooding.
Minor flooding is also likely along the Macleay River at Kempsey this afternoon.
Angus farmer Pat O’Neill at the swollen O’Neills creek which cut the Oxley Highway near Wauchope. (ABC News: Michael Cavanagh)