SES warns of flooding complacency in West New South Wales after several rescues

The state emergency service is warning people against complacency around flood waters following several rescues in west-central New South Wales over the weekend.

Two groups of campers had to be rescued in separate incidents near Bathurst on Sunday after being isolated by flood waters.

Crews from Bathurst and Sofala also rescued a man and his dog from a fast-flowing flooded roadway on Saturday afternoon.

In this incident, the Westpac rescue helicopter flew over three people over a swollen river, one of whom was in need of medication.

Superintendent Brigid Rice, SES Western Zone Flood Controller, said eight rescues had been carried out in the area since Jan.4.

“There have been a lot of storms throughout the mid-west area and it’s creating flash floods,” she said.

“Four of those rescues were local to Sofala and Hill End, where people [were] during their weekend enjoying the holidays [and] had gone camping. “

A man and his dog were rescued after their car overturned on a flooded road.(Provided: NSW SES)

Since the beginning of November, the SES teams in the western zone have carried out 121 flood water rescues.

Superintendent Rice, who described the figure as high for the region, said she feared people had become complacent around the floodwaters.

“People thought the wet weather was behind us, but we are actually looking at above average precipitation for January and February, so that may surprise people,” she said.

SES teams stand between a truck and a swollen river.  There are several rescue boats and vehicles.
The SES urges campers to be aware of nearby rivers that could rise quickly after a storm or flash flood.(Provided: NSW SES)

Campers urged to beware

A group of 10 campers were included in the weekend rescues, whose site was isolated by flash floods.

Superintendent Rice said it was common for SES crews to be called in to rescue isolated campers during the holiday season, but steps could be taken to reduce the risk.

“Check the weather conditions before [you] go camping because flash floods are what will always catch people, ”she said.

“It’s always a good idea to stop and chat with locals on your way to a camping area too to find out what the dangers are and what could happen if you experience storms.

“They will know what is being cut and when it can happen very, very quickly.”

She urged campers to be careful and reconsider if they had to cross a river to access their campsite.

“You can cross a rocky creek bed that doesn’t appear to contain water, but a flash flood can mean access to the site is suddenly cut off.