Police name man killed in floodwater
A MAN died after apparently failing to see floodwater while driving near Coutts Crossing last night.
It is understood Robert "Bob" Fox, 66, of Coutts Crossing was on his way to Grafton to pick up friends from hospital about 9.30pm when the incident occurred.
Police said Mr Fox's vehicle became submerged in water and it appeared he left his small hatchback and was swept or fell into a culvert and washed underneath the roadway. The depth of water at the culvert was about 1.6 metres, police said.
A passing motorist saw the car in the water, stopped and searched for the driver.
Police attended the scene and located the body of the man about five metres from the car and attempted to revive him without success.
A nurse, who was on her way home to Coutts Crossing from Grafton also stopped to apply CPR and complained today that the ambulance took 35 minutes to reach the scene.
The nurse, who did not wish to be named, said Grafton Ambulance needed to be far better resourced.
Police are now preparing a report for the Coroner.
Coffs/Clarence Local Area Commander and Local Emergency Operations Controller Superintendent Mark Holahan said this was a tragic incident which could have been avoided.
"Along with the NSW State Emergency Service we have been urging people whether they are driving, walking or riding, to never enter flood affected areas," he said.
"Our simple message is - if it is flooded, forget it."
"With rain continuing to fall we are urging the community not to take risks, to listen to the emergency services and to take care."
Commander Holahan said the SES in the Clarence/Nambucca Bellingen area had conducted 14 rescues during the latest flood period.
"Last night is a sober reminder to people that if you drive into floodwaters you can die," he said.
"As tragic as it is for that family I think we need to look at that and say there is a raw threat in those floodwaters and heed the messages that are put out by emergency services."
Cmdr Holahan said local drivers need to avoid feeling complacent
"We've had two years of floods off and on around this time of the year and a lot of local people had become complacent because we haven't had these situations hit us in those two years," he said.
"I hope this event that happened last night, this tragic event, becomes a sombre reminder."
Cmdr Holahan praised the emergency services volunteers called out for each of the 14 rescues.
"We need to be mindful of the efforts of these volunteers and what they do to save and protect their communities every day," he said.