Grey nomad pair escape as floods sweep caravan away

Published: November 12, 2021

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’.

Bingara floods sweeps caravan away

“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.”

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6 months ago

We’re they caught out or told to move but didn’t ???

Jan elliott
6 months ago
Reply to  Diane

This is an untrue rumor. If we had been told to move we absolutely would have! We saw no ranger, and neither did any of the other campers we spoke with the next day. I guess we made a bad choice in camping there, but the conditions were idyllic when we set up around 6pm and we had no idea is was dangerous. Yes, foolish city slickers – but we have paid the price with losing both the car and the caravan – and Weber BBQ, car fridge, extensive tool box and awning mat – removed by looters the next morning just to add to our misery.

6 months ago

Diane , you maybe right because the weather forecast was warning people of flooding in the Gwydir, Peel and Macintyre rivers . They put themselves at risk as well as the volunteers trying to save them These Sydney people have no idea about dangers of country life

6 months ago
Reply to  Barb

They all like to camp right on the edge of the water and don’t think about what happens when it rains

6 months ago

A lesson to us all ! Check BOM. Read and comply with signs in free camps. And get racq ultimate!

6 months ago

I’ve camped there quite a few times and have always kept an eye on the weather because the river is only about half a meter below the campsites. Have seen people set up camps there that looked very permanent and wondered how they would fair in a sudden rise. There are warnings about dam release as well.

6 months ago

High price to pay for not doing your homework. That said. Bloody looters.
What a bunch of low life bastards they are. You can only hope they get their place looted sometime , when they are at their most vulnerable.

5 months ago

It’s a shame how you lot question these people. I grew up in the bush & have been working in the bush for 40 years & still do I have seen many people that have made a wrong choice & not only city people unless you were there don’t think you know what went on. I’m just glad you guys got out with your fur ball & are safe the rest can be replaced. Hope you are insured and can get back on the road ASAP. As for the looters hope you tell your families & friends how you lucked on such great camping equipment.


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