Rain reprieve for SES

PLAN OF ATTACK: Rescue crews consult maps as they work to help campers stranded west of Moruya. Picture: NSW SES Illawarra South Coast

PLAN OF ATTACK: Rescue crews consult maps as they work to help campers stranded west of Moruya. Picture: NSW SES Illawarra South Coast

Glimpses of sunshine across the Illawarra and South Coast on Thursday were a welcome sight – particularly for the regions’ emergency services.

Light rain showers refused to disappear completely, but conditions improved enough for NSW State Emergency Service crews to access about 40 campers who have been stranded on the South Coast since the weekend. 

An eight-month-old baby was among campers left isolated at Bendethera, in the Deua National Park west of Moruya, by rising floodwater on Sunday night. 

The holidaymakers were delivered food, water, nappies and other essential supplies by the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter on Thursday afternoon. 

Rescuers didn’t attempt to get the campers out because river conditions were still too dangerous. 

NSW SES incident controller Ashley Sullivan said people were OK to stay at the remote site until at least Saturday, when crews would return to assess water levels in the hope of escorting them from the location. 

“A satellite device has been left with one of the campsites and regular check-ups have been established to ensure that if anything goes wrong then the campers have a way of calling us for assistance,” Mr Sullivan said.

SES crews were assisted by the NSW Police Illawarra Rescue Squad, NSW Ambulance special operations personnel and National Parks and Wildlife Service staff. Drones were among the equipment used, while specialist flood rescue operators were also called in.

Between Sunday and Tuesday, Illawarra and South Coast SES units responded to about 65 calls for help, the majority of which were storm-related. The most calls came from the Moruya area. 

Partly cloudy conditions are forecast for the Illawarra and South Coast on Friday, with maximums in the mid-to-high 20s.

FORECAST

Wollongong

  • Fri: Partly cloudy, 23°C
  • Sat: Partly cloudy, 25°C
  • Sun: Mostly sunny, 25°C

Albion Park

  • Fri: Partly cloudy, 25°C
  • Sat: Partly cloudy, 28°C
  • Sun: Partly cloudy, 27°C
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