Sydney: A man in Australia was rescued on Tuesday, 10 hours after clinging to a tree in floodwaters.
Battered by a low pressure system bringing record rainfall and damaging winds, several drought-affected, bone-dry rivers near the township of Bega in New South Wales (NSW) state were instantly turned into roaring rapids in a matter of hours, reports Xinhua news agency.
Walking near the Brogo River at around 6 p.m. on Monday, the man was quickly swept away by the rising floodwaters.
Desperately trying to stay afloat, he grabbed onto a tree where he stayed until 4 a.m. on Tuesday, until a resident spotted the man and called for help.
“He wasn’t in great condition when we pulled him out,” local State Emergency Service Commander Michelle De Frisbom told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“He was suffering the effect of hypothermia… even though it wasn’t that cold. He had been in the water for quite a number of hours … he is one very lucky man.”
Forecasters predict more severe weather could strike later in the week, putting more pressure on emergency services.
On Monday, the Bureau of Meteorology said that in the last four days, 391.6 mm of rain have fallen in the city, the most since February 1990 when 414.2 mm of rainfall were recorded, and warned of more rainfall in coming days, reports Efe news.
The agency issued various alerts for risk of flooding and flooding along rivers, and the coast of the NSW, whose capital is Sydney, and also for possible damage along the coast due to abnormally large swells and high tides.
The rains have also helped firefighters, battle a series of fires that have been raging in southeastern Australia since September 2019, with more than 30 hotspots extinguished since February 7 in NSW alone.