Saturday, July 20, 2024

Hundreds rescued from Hastings

A stranded group of seasonal workers were among around 60 people rescued from floodwaters in and around Hastings by NZDF crews and police in the past 24 hours.

Crew on three Royal New Zealand Air Force helicopters rescued 23 people and five dogs, including by winching people off roofs of houses.

The group of seasonal workers were rescued near Hastings by personnel from the New Zealand Army and New Zealand Police using four Unimog trucks on Tuesday.

Two pallets of medical supplies were also delivered to a medical centre in Napier.

NZ Army Second Lieutenant Judge Gregory said those rescued were grateful to be picked up.

“The floodwater was waist high, but the Unimog tyres and massive clearance meant we were able to get into the elevated areas needed to reach the seasonal workers,” he said.

Earlier on Tuesday, water flooded the agricultural landscape surrounding Hastings, leaving hundreds cut off from town.

“We were sent to support those areas and evacuate families trapped in homes,” said Second Lieutenant Gregory.

Overall, the NZ Army teams had rescued about 200 people, with that number still climbing.

In Hastings, the NZ Army were operating with seven Unimogs and a police officer was allocated to each truck to help with navigation and traffic control.

Police determined high priority areas for the New Zealand Defence Force to respond to.

Second Lieutenant Gregory said people they rescued were glad to see them.

“Heaps of waves and smiles but there’s quite a bit of heartbreak when we are driving past.

“When we pick up people they are pretty grateful,” he said.

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