RAIN BOMB: HUNDREDS remain trapped as the worst floods EVER swallow the town – as EIGHT die in Queensland with Brisbane River to peak today
Hundreds of Lismore residents are being rescued from their rooftops by helicopters and boats as the north-eastern New South Wales town is swamped by the worst flood in living memory.
Families raced to higher ground on Monday morning as rivers burst their banks from torrential rains slamming NSW and south-east Queensland with floodwaters claiming the lives of eight people in Queensland alone – the latest a man aged in his 50s and his dog who were found in a submerged car in Currumbin Valley.
A Daily Mail Australia photographer captured dramatic scenes on the streets of the NSW Northern Rivers town on Monday as emergency workers helped entire families – including babies and dogs – escape their homes.
In one example of the harrowing scenes unfolding, disability rights activist Sam Connor tweeted: ‘My mother is stuck inside the house about to drown. She has muscular dystrophy… please help’.
Hours later, Connor tweeted that the woman – who wears an oxygen mask – was thankfully safe.
Some 15,000 people have already been evacuated along the NSW north coast with thousands more stranded and hundreds of calls to the State Emergency Service.
The SES is so overwhelmed its rescue boats have not been able to reach every resident, forcing desperate locals to post their addresses on a Facebook page to plead for a rescue.
The Wilsons River reached levels of 14.37m on Monday afternoon, more than two metres higher than its previous record set more than 50 years ago when the river hit a depth of 12.27m in 1954.
QLD Police have ordered anyone living or working near the Howard Smith Wharves to evacuate immediately after a pontoon carrying a crane broke free of its moorings on Monday afternoon.
Lismore CBD has been completely inundated with floodwaters spilling over in North Lismore, South Lismore, East Lismore, Girards Hill, Woodburn, Swan Bay, Coraki, Marshalls Creek and Bilinudgel.
Dramatic footage showed helicopters landing on rooftops and rescue crews bundling stranded residents onto the aircraft before flying away.
There were 374 calls to the SES in a one-hour period in the Northern Rivers region on Monday morning.