Erskine Park, NSW: Footage captures moment man rescued from floodwaters after being stranded on excavator

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Aerial footage has captured the moment a man was rescued from floodwaters while clinging to a submerged excavator west of Sydney, following a rain deluge that resulted in thousands being urged to evacuate immediately.

Multiple flood warnings remain in place for catchments across NSW after hundreds of millimetres of rain fell on parts of the state overnight and on Saturday.

The State Emergency Service (SES) conducted 152 rescues across the state, 72 in the metropolitan area alone, after receiving thousands of calls for assistance overnight.

One such rescue on Saturday morning involved a man becoming stranded in floodwaters in Erskine Park, west of Sydney.

In footage captured by 9 News’ helicopter, the man can be seen clinging to a submerged excavator as he awaits SES volunteers to assist him.

After paddling into the floodwaters, the man is safely taken back to shore.

The footage comes as NSW Emergency Services Minister Jihad Dib said more than 2200 missions had been performed overnight.

NSW Premier Chris Minns said there may be blue skies across parts of Sydney at the moment, it was important to note flood levels in some of the rivers were continuing to rise, particularly in western Sydney.

“That presents a danger to some communities,” he said on Saturday.

“It’s very important for those who live in low-lying flood-prone areas to listen to emergency broadcasts from the SES… (and) download the Hazards Near Me app.”

Mr Dib urged residents to use the Hazards Near Me app to monitor risks around the state, including a plea not to go into floodwaters.

“Don’t take risks by driving, cycling or riding through floodwater,” Mr Dib said.

“We don’t know what’s underneath… while it might not seem there’s flooding risks today, they still exist.

Mr Dib said weather events like this could also affect transport lines, including trains, and asked people to keep an eye on updated routes.

Several high profile routes – including the Wakehurst Parkway and Illawarra Highway, remain closed in both directions due to flooding risks.

Windsor Bridge over the Hawkesbury River is also expected to be closed, with the level rising to almost 6m.

The wild weather has also led to Warragamba Dam spilling at a rate of about 200 gigalitres per day after heavy rainfall overnight.

It follows the catchment area receiving an average of 100mm of rain from midnight, with the sub-catchment, close to the dam wall, receiving ~130mm.

“Inflows to the dam are currently about 225 gigalitres per day and decreasing, with a peak of 285 gigalitres per day recorded at around 9am,” WaterNSW said in a statement.

“With the flooding in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley the spill will contribute to the flood waters already in the system.”
Greater Sydney water supply dams currently spilling include Warragamba, Tallowa, Nepean and the Blue Mountains dams.

The dams in Woronora and Cataract are also expected to spill later.

The Warragamba Dam catchment area covers 9000sqkm and stretches across much of the Blue Mountains to Goulburn in the south, and to Lithgow in the north.

The NSW State Government’s own operating rules and protocols prevent the release of water from the dam – which would reduce the storage level ahead of predicted rainfall for flood mitigation purposes.

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned heavy rainfall could lead to flash flooding over the Sydney Metropolitan, Illawarra, and Central Tablelands, Southern Tablelands and South Coast regions this weekend.

Residents in the Blue Mountains and Narooma districts have been warned to brace for possible “life-threatening” flash flooding from intense local falls.

Six-hourly rainfall totals between 90 to 150mm are possible in these areas, according to the bureau.

“Localised 24-hourly rainfall totals between 120 and 200mm are possible and may reach up to 300mm over the Illawarra escarpment,” the bureau’s warning states.

Damaging wind gusts of up to 90kmh have also been forecast in the South West Slopes and along coastal parts of the Sydney Metropolitan area.

Peak wind gusts of up to 125kmh have also been forecast for alpine regions but the bureau says this will ease through Saturday morning.

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