POLICE say they are angered by the latest rescue of two young men who were found after they entered the flooded Manning River Sunday evening on a double bed air mattress.
Police from Manning/Great Lakes local area command assisted SES in locating the men about 8.05pm when they were seen walking along Nowendoc Road, after they managed to climb an embankment to safety.
Wingham SES unit controller, Gary Green said a large amount of resources and time was wasted when SES and police implemented the search and rescue for the two young men.
Wingham SES was notified by police the two males had entered the water on air mattresses at Charity Creek Bridge and were floating down river.
The alarm was raised by people waiting for them at Killawarra Bridge when they didn’t show. A major search and rescue was put into place at 7pm where SES swift water rescue teams were deployed at Wingham as well as ground search teams at points along the river.
A number of control and observation points were set up at Killawarra Bridge and at either side of Bight Bridge with Taree VRA setting up lighting over the river. Wingham Fire and Rescue squad from were also called in to assist.
A rapid response boat was sent up river from the Bight Bridge.
“It was extremely dangerous and foolhardy for anyone to enter the water, particularly when it’s swift flowing,” Mr Green said.
“This could have resulted in fatalities. Significant time and resources have been wasted and there was the potential for volunteers and rescue personnel to be injured and put at serious risk.”
Manning/Great Lakes Duty Officer, Inspector John Sullivan, said he was appalled and angered by the irresponsible behaviour.
“It is literally only days since we saw the tragic death of a young man in floodwaters, yet two young men have put their lives – and the lives of their rescuers – at risk,” Insp Sullivan said.
“We have had police working day and night to keep our community safe and then we have to respond to a thoughtless incident such as this.
“People must act responsibly for their sake, the sake of their families and that of those who come to their aid.
“The message is simple: do not enter floodwater be it over a road, a flooded creek, or a flooded river,” Insp Sullivan said.
The SES’s operation didn’t end until 11.30pm Sunday night.
“After working for three days, this was totally unnecessary,” Mr Green added.