By NICK SINIS
SES is compelling motorists not to drive through flood waters after a man was found deceased in flood waters at Woodside earlier today (June 10).
Emergency services were called to Starlings Lane about 1.45pm, after a member of the public notified them of a vehicle almost submerged in flood water.
Officers attended and confirmed that the deceased man was with the vehicle.
A rescue team recovered the man and the circumstances surrounding his death are being investigated.
Incident controller at Traralgon incident control centre Keith O’Brien, said emergency services had been responding to a number of flood related rescues in Gippsland.
“We really do need to remind people that one of the biggest causes of death with natural emergencies in Australia, only second to heat waves, is drowning in floods,” he said.
“So please don’t drive in or through flood waters, stop, turn around and find another way.”
Mr O’Brien said 24 people had to be rescued from flooding on Thursday, with 11 from houses and a number of them from vehicles.
“That was just in a six-hour period at the peak of the flooding at Traralgon Creek,” he said.
“That was a combined Victoria Police Search and Rescue, SES and helicopter response exercise.
“There were all agencies involved there and they’re doing their best to try and protect people.”
More locally, Mr O’Brien said SES throughout Bass Coast and South Gippsland had been kept busy responding to dozens of requests for assistance.
“We haven’t had any particular challenges around the Bass Coast, other than water over roads and trees down,” he said.
“We’ve had people having trouble getting through roads in different locations, so that’s going to be a continuing one.
“We’ve also got mobile phone and NBN outages, so it’s a real combination.
“Our volunteers and emergency service partners have been going fairly flat chat since yesterday (Wednesday, June 9).
“And it certainly peaked overnight and early today.”
Mr O’Brien added they were not “out of the woods yet” and expected to be busy over the coming days.
Statewide, SES has received almost 7000 requests for assistance, with 5277 for downed trees, 835 for building damage and 129 flood related.
Residents are encouraged to visit www.ses.vic.gov.au/get-ready to view their local flood guide and prepare for an emergency.
According to the Bureau of Meteorology, flooding is no longer expected in the South Gippsland Rivers catchment.