Southern Police: Overnight rescue and ongoing flooding
"Southern Police: Overnight rescue and ongoing flooding"
Emergency services are currently responding to reports of a significant slip in Saint Clair, Dunedin, while flooding continues throughout the wider area.
A number of evacuations have taken place overnight with the possibility of more.
“The Dunedin City Council is providing ongoing updates and the majority of the public are following instructions and providing assistance when required,” says Otago Coast Area Commander, Inspector Kelvin Lloyd.
A slip occurred shortly before 8:15am this morning on Ravenswood Road, Saint Clair.
Images of the slip are attached.
At least three cars have been damaged but there have been no reports of injuries.
Additionally, motorists are asked to avoid travel due to flooding in the Taieri and Peninsula areas.
A helicopter is currently attending a rescue in Henley where a family and a couple require evacuation.
Ongoing updates are available at: www.facebook.com/NZCivilDefence and www.dunedin.govt.nz
Although the majority of residents are following advice, Police were involved in a significant rescue in the early hours of this morning which raised concern.
At approximately midnight, emergency services received numerous calls from a man who was sitting on his vehicle on State Highway 87 trapped in flood waters.
The man said he was with six men and women, aged in their twenties.
“Rescuers were required to carry out a rescue which, had those involved followed Civil Defence advice, would not have been required,” says Inspector Lloyd.
“Initially rescuers were unable to reach the group in the atrocious conditions, so a rescue helicopter was required.
Water Rescue swimmers were tasked to assist due to the rapidly rising flood waters.
“IRB teams managed to reach the group, finding nine people inside two vehicles.
“All nine individuals appeared to be intoxicated and they were all suffering from hypothermia.
A number of them were in such an advanced state to the point where they need to be carried out.”
They were transferred to waiting ambulances before all rescuers had to evacuate the area immediately due to the rising water levels.
“Those rescued chose to ignore advice to stay off the roads and put themselves and the lives of several rescuers at risk,” says Inspector Lloyd.
“Without the assistance of these rescuers, we have no doubt that lives would have been lost.”
Police reminds all members of the public that venturing out in such conditions, contrary to emergency services warning, puts the lives of both the rescued and rescuers at serious risk.
“Rescuers and emergency services are here to help and will respond to issues as soon as possible, however everyone’s role becomes significantly more dangerous when advice is not followed.”
Ongoing advice and updates are available on Dunedin’s City Council’s Facebook page.
A full list of road closures and conditions is available at www.dunedin.govt.nz/road-conditions
State highway closures are on the NZ Transport Agency website at www.journeys.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/