NSW floods: Motorists left stranded on bridge as river rises

·3-min read

Motorists in northern NSW have been rescued after spending the night stranded on a Woodburn bridge as rising floodwaters cut off both ends.

Incredible footage showed a convoy of vehicles and horses on a bridge in Woodburn, 34km south of Lismore, after the Richmond River broke and flooded the area.

The Richmond River was at 6.3 metres and rising when they were rescued. Most of the people rescued are now sheltering at a local school, ABC News reports.

Areal image of the Woodburn bridge with motorists on it after it was was cut off due to rising flood waters.
Both ends of the bridge at Woodburn were cut off due to rising flood waters. Source: ABC News

Some people had been rescued from local flooded properties and taken to Woodburn bridge where they camped out.

Family of stranded people took to social media to try and get them help.

"My parents and many others were rescued by boat in the early hours of this morning and are now stuck on the top of the bridge not knowing when and if they are going to be rescued," one woman wrote early on Tuesday morning.

"The water is rising fast."

Another woman was waiting for the rest of her family who were stuck on the Woodburn bridge.

"We are currently sitting on a dry bit of dirt where the cars are waiting for the sun to come up so we can get back to the rest of the family stranded on Woodburn bridge," she wrote.

Northern NSW rivers at highest levels in almost 70 years

River levels along the Richmond River in Woodburn have risen above the February 1954 peak of 5.42 metres and may peak near 6.9 metres by Tuesday afternoon.

Extreme flooding on Monday saw Lismore residents forced onto the roofs of their houses to escape rising floodwaters sweeping through the northern NSW city.

A moderate to major flood warning was issued for the Richmond River on Tuesday morning for Kyogle, Coraki, Bungawalbyn and Woodburn.

Motorists and horses trapped on a Woodburn bridge, 34km south of Lismore. Source: ABC News
Motorists and horses were trapped on a Woodburn bridge, 34km from Lismore which was the scene of catastrophic flooding on Monday. Source: ABC News

Dangers 'isn't over' for Lismore

SES northern region incident controller Steven Paterson says while river levels have peaked in Lismore, the danger isn't over.

"Lismore is, and has been now for a number of hours, a focus of ongoing rescue efforts," Mr Paterson said.

"We still have significant numbers of outstanding rescue calls to attend to.

"Yesterday was all about getting resources into the area and extracting as many people as we could, and getting them to evacuation centres. That effort will continue in Lismore today but I do need to stress this is still an unfolding situation."

The unprecedented flooding — labelled by NSW premier Dominic Perrottet a "once in a 1000 year event— has forced 34,000 people to evacuate and another 310,000 warned to be ready to flee.

The Bureau of Meteorology warned NSW is in for more thunderstorms, heavy rain and damaging winds as extreme weather moves south along the coast.

A low pressure system is heading towards Sydney on Tuesday night with heavy rain that could cause flash flooding and potentially hazardous conditions.

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