A grey nomad couple has been forced to climb out of their caravan to escape rising floodwaters.
John and Jan Elliott told the ABC they are ‘happy to be alive’ after escaping with their dog from raging floodwaters in northern New South Wales.
However, the pair lost their caravan in the torrent.
The Sydney couple had been staying at a campground at Bingara, north-west of Tamworth, when a massive thunderstorm hit on Wednesday night.
Jan told the ABC that their van was suddenly surrounded by ‘about two metres of very fast flowing water’.
“We couldn’t get out of the door because the water was gushing so fast,” Ms Elliott said. “I actually thought I’d drown … I imagined we’d just bob away, go bob-bob-bobbing down the stream.”
John and Jan told they left Sydney 10 days ago when regional travel restrictions lifted and are now homeless, with their caravan lost downstream.
“I’m just happy to be alive. It’s just stuff.”
They were not the only ones who had to escape from the park.
The State Emergency Service said 15 caravans had to be moved to safety.
“After dark, a flash flood event – a thunderstorm, basically – goes through and those people are forced to move with the assistance of the emergency services,” SES deputy commissioner Daniel Austin said. “We conducted four flood rescues in that particular scenario … it highlights that this is a fast-moving event — in places the risk is not just from long slow rainfall, but it’s actually these sharp, short thunderstorms.”