Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) flood rescue specialists had to remove snakes which had jumped into the life raft as they waded one kilometre in total darkness to reach a family of two adults and four young children stranded at a property isolated by floodwater at Port Macquarie.
Working closely with the NSW State Emergency Service and other emergency services, FRNSW crews have continued to respond to hundreds of flood rescues and requests for assistance from flood affected communities in the past 24 hours.
During one incident, a crew were surprised by snakes jumping on to the raft as they wadded through the dark to rescue the family of six with children aged 2, 4, 6, and 8 from their house in Sancrox.
In Coopernook, north of Taree, FRNSW rescued a mother and her four children after the vehicle they were traveling in became submerged in rising floodwaters. The crew worked tirelessly to assist the family before transporting them to the local evacuation centre.
Further south, in Tuncurry, FRNSW crews safely evacuated five adults and four children who had become stranded in floodwaters at a caravan park.
With moving and rising floodwaters complicating rescue efforts, the rescue operation took over three hours to complete.
Some of the other rescue highlights in the past 48 hours include:
- Evacuating more than 50 aged care residents from Riverside Retreat Caravan Park.
- Rescuing more than 100 residents from other caravan parks.
- Medical rescue in Kempsey where an elderly lady suffered a broken hip. She was treated by emergency services personnel and transferred by NSW SES boats back to Kempsey where she was helped from the raft by FRNSW crews and handed to NSW Ambulance
- Another of our flood rescue crews, along with FRNSW and RFS firefighters, became stranded in Wittitrin, west of Kempsey, after rescuing an elderly couple from their property. The crews were cut off from returning to Kempsey and spent the night in a local hall where residents provided them with food and supplies.
- Crews working in the Ghinni Ghinni area swam, waded and rowed more than three kilometres in rescue rafts with members of the NSW Police Force to rescue two people stranded in rising flood water.
- Five people were dropped into the Emergency Operations Centre at Taree by a rescue helicopter. FRNSW and NSW SES provided care until NSW Ambulance arrived.
FRNSW Commissioner Paul Baxter said the work carried out firefighters is difficult and demanding, and commended all of those involved in the ongoing work.
"FRNSW has continued to provide support to the NSW SES throughout this extreme weather event, and our firefighters are working in difficult conditions to keep communities safe," he said.
"Our in water and land-based rescue units have worked around the clock to help these communities in their time of greatest need and will continue to do so for as long as is required."
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