Two women had a lucky escape when their vehicle was swept into causeway floodwaters near Wingham on March 6.
Emergency services were called to Dingo Creek, Bobin, at about 4.20pm following reports a car had been swept into a flooded creek while trying to cross a causeway.
The driver, a woman in her 60s, managed to free herself and swim to land, but her passenger, a woman in her 80s, was trapped inside the vehicle.
“The driver of the vehicle had underestimated the force of the water,” Manning Great Lakes Local Area Command chief inspector, Christine George said.
“Luckily, the vehicle became trapped against the causeway which stopped it from washing downstream, which could have resulted in a double tragedy.
“We had actually updated our social media to warn locals of conditions just 10 minutes earlier. We usually see tragedies when vehicles are swept away in floodwaters, it just takes an instant and the car is full of water, so these two are just so lucky.
“The warning is, it doesn’t matter how well you know the road, it’s very hard to estimate the depth of the water and the velocity with which the water is crossing the road.”
The younger woman was treated on scene for shock by NSW Ambulance paramedics while a major rescue operation commenced, comprising the State Emergency Service, NSW Police Force, Volunteer Rescue Association, Rural Fire Service, NSW Ambulance and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.
Rescuers managed to fix a tether line to the car to stop it being swept away.
The woman was then removed from the car about 6pm and both women were taken to Manning Hospital to be treated for minor injuries and shock, before being discharged about half an hour later.
Floodwater can have fast moving undercurrents that can quickly wash people and vehicles away; as such people should never drive, ride or walk through floodwater.
Members of the public seeking emergency assistance during a flood or storm should call the NSW State Emergency Service on 132 500, or visit their website www.ses.nsw.gov.au.