• SES rescues stranded nurses

    RESCUE: Painters Island Caravan Park owner Shane Downie leads the SES to stranded guests. PHOTOS: Shana Morgan

    THREE foreign nurses had to be rescued by the State Emergency Service (SES) after they were stranded by floods yesterday.

    The two Indian women and one French woman were staying at Painters Island Caravan Park – notorious for going under water during minor floods – when the Ovens River reached a height of 12.33 metres.

    Leslie Huguet told the Wangaratta Chronicle her boyfriend had left for work earlier that morning and was able to walk out of the park, but a couple of hours later Painters Island owner, Sue Downie, woke her with the news that they were flooded.

    “I’ve never seen anything like that before,” she said.

    Wangaratta SES volunteers arrived at about 12pm and were able to drive their four-wheel drive through the foot-deep floodwater and transport the nurses and their belongings back to dry ground.

    Alphi Frances and Neenu Thomas were happy they could still get to their shift at the hospital in time.

    They all praised the SES volunteers for being so helpful and friendly.

    “We didn’t know what to do,” Ms Frances said.

    SES regional operations readiness manager, Brendan Corboy, said it was a simple rescue.

    “We’d rather do that than have people walking through floodwaters,” he said.

    About 45 guests in total were evacuated from Painters Island Caravan Park on Sunday and Monday.

    Inspector David Ryan and Senior Sergeant Lance Werner, of Wangaratta police, were also on the scene yesterday to ensure everyone got to safety and Mrs Downie helped the guests find new accommodation.

    More on Wangaratta’s floods will appear in tomorrow’s Chronicle.

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