Residents in the town of Bay of Plenty in Edgecumbe, New Zealand have been evacuated due to floods caused by a breached stop bank.
Locals say that the river is still flowing and there is no way to stop it.
The current water level stands between 1 to 2 meters and it is assumed that the river will continue flowing rapidly for the next 24 hours.
Â In the midst of the chaos many locals have stepped up and volunteered to assist the authorities.
Brandon Crowley, 24, and Doug Looney, 61, were part of a five team rescue operation who were coordinating with the local police, civil defense and the fire department.
“We were getting addresses and following up with them to help in the evacuation.”
“We were driving a boat through the streets of Edgecumbe, should be driving a car, but we were driving a boat.”
Brandon Crowley, one of the two individuals on the jet boat used to live in the neighborhood and recalls one of the rescue operations.
“I use to live there myself, so the impact of the devastation really hit me.”
“We were going around with our list from the Civil Defense of places to check. Making our way up a street and we came across a man stuck on a fence next to his house. Apparently he was asleep and only woke up once the level of the water reached his bed.”
“We drove up the drive way on our boat to rescue him!”
Brandon says none of this would have been possible without Doug, who was driving and navigating the boat.
“We were a team of two, he did the driving and navigating, I got in the water and assisted people”.
Jet boats are ideal for rescue operations as they skim over the top of the water, thereby reducing potential damage caused by waves.