NSW floods: Child trapped in car swept away in central west near Parkes

A community is bracing for tragedy as a five-year-old child is feared dead after becoming trapped inside a car swept away and submerged in floodwaters late on Friday night.

NSW State Emergency Services, paramedics, and police crews were called to McGrane Way at Tullamore in NSW’s Central West on Friday night to reports two vehicles had become trapped in flood waters.

When they arrived at the scene, northwest of Parkes, emergency services found four people clinging to trees to escape the rising flood waters, but a five-year-old child travelling with the group could not be found.

“Police have been told that a five-year-old child from one of the vehicles has not yet been accounted for,” a spokesperson told NCA NewsWire.

The vehicles are still submerged in the floodwaters as of Saturday morning, with emergency services to remain on site until they can be retrieved and accessed.

Police believe the five-year-old has been trapped inside one of the flooded cars overnight. It’s understood authorities aren’t expecting the child to have survived.

A woman in her 20s, a man in his 30s, and two children were rescued by crews on an SES flood boat and treated by paramedics at the scene before they were taken to Dubbo Hospital for treatment.

Parkes Mayor Ken Keith said the incident was “very sad” for the family and the community.

“Everyone’s in a bit of shock this morning,” he said.

“I don’t at this stage even know whether it’s a local family or a family travelling out this way on school holidays.”

Roads in the area remain closed due to heavy flooding, which police said has made accessing McGrane Way difficult.

The area has been subjected to very heavy rainfall in the past 24 hours, with some areas being drenched with a quarter of their annual rainfall average in a single night.

Mayor Keith said areas surrounding Parkes had been drenched with 170ml overnight on soil that is already saturated.

“Any additional rain at the moment is really causing catastrophic effects,” he said.

The region has already been deemed a natural disaster zone because of the heavy downpours and the inundation of the cropping areas.

There are 19 flood warnings currently in place across NSW and the SES confirmed it performed five flood rescues on Friday night.

An SES spokesperson said the majority of the rescues were people over-estimating their ability to drive through flooded areas.

“It’s people still thinking that they know which way they can go through flooded roads,” they said.

“There’s no safe way to drive through floodwaters.”

The SES is urging people to realise the roads they may normally drive may be flooded and impassable, and cautions travellers to pack extra food and water in case of delays.

People who need to travel should check livetraffic.com for up-to-date information on the condition of the roads.

“We’re asking the community to make smart and sensible decisions, especially during the school holidays,” the SES spokesperson said.

“Be prepared and adapt to any conditions you may come across.”

The SES is continuing to monitor flood conditions as the heavy rainfall eases from the northern part of the state but continues in other areas.

As always, the rescue organisation warns people to remember the old adage “if it’s flooded, forget it.”

Originally published as Child, 5, trapped in submerged car swept away in central west floodwaters

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