A man has died after being rescued in an unresponsive condition from an overflowing river in western Sydney after torrential downpours caused ‘deadly’ floodwaters to rise in many parts of New York state -South Wales (NSW).
A chaotic evacuation campaign continued amid massive flooding that forced thousands to flee their homes.
The man, whose identity has not been released, was rescued from the raging river on Sunday afternoon by emergency services but could not survive.
“We saw a helicopter with basically a team of police jumping into the water, trying to save someone,” witness Luke Touma told 7NEWS.
Earlier, another man was reportedly killed after falling from a kayak on the Parramatta River near Canada Bay on Sunday as emergency officials worked to revive him. Officials, however, have not yet linked the death to the weather.
Sydney currently has 18 evacuation orders in place with more than 30,000 people ordered to leave their homes as NSW witnesses another devastating flood this year after witnessing it in March and April too, in which the city received a month of rain in a single night.
Some areas are completely cut off as the roads remain flooded. People have been urged to avoid all non-essential travel, including using public transport.
Flooding occurred after heavy rains and rapid overflows from dams caused rivers to rise at alarming rates and shattering flood records.
Authorities are warning that the situation could be much worse this time and are asking people not to wait for evacuation orders if it is possible for them to leave safely.
“If you were safe in 2021, don’t assume you will be safe tonight. This is a rapidly changing situation and we could see areas affected that we have never seen before,” said Steph Cooke, the state’s emergency services minister.
Ms Cooke said the Warragamba dam was discharging at a rate of more than 500 gigalitres a day – more than the floods in March and April this year, which inundated large swathes of the state.
Experts said the frequent flooding in New South Wales and its increasing intensity has been made worse by the climate crisis and a La Niña weather phenomenon.
The Independent Gt