NSW

Contact made with campers stranded in Deua National Park

State Emergency Service crews have made contact with a group of 30 campers stranded in a remote stretch of the Deua National Park but fear they could be stranded for up to five more days.

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Illawarra-South Coast SES incident controller Ashley Sullivan believes none of the campers have run out of essential supplies, although said they could be running thin.

Five children are believed to be among the group stuck in the flooded Bendethera area.

A helicopter crew will join the NSW SES to search for 21 campers stranded in a South Coast national park.
A helicopter crew will join the NSW SES to search for 21 campers stranded in a South Coast national park.  Photo: Jay Cronan

"SES crews were able to establish radio communications with the campers on the other side of the river," he said.

"We have grabbed all of their personal details, and intel back is that everyone is OK at this stage and that no one is in any life-threatening situations."

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Crews will try to reach the campers by ground and air on Thursday morning, as the floodwaters cutting off access to and from the national park are unlikely to reduce overnight.

"Hopefully the helicopter is favourable tomorrow and we can get access to them and have a chat face to face and potentially drop off additional supplies," Mr Sullivan said. 

"But these campers could potentially be stranded for a further two to five days, some of them even longer."

A farmer who made contact with the party via UHF radio on Tuesday night was told they were running out of food, he said.

It is understood the group of families was supposed to return several days ago, but was forced to extend their stay due to the wide-ranging floods.

Concerned relatives alerted the SES earlier with fears the campers could be in distress.

The Moruya-based Westpac Lifesaver rescue helicopter was sent to the area on Tuesday to help the search but was forced to return to base due to bad weather.

NSW SES crews and a road ambulance also tried to reach the campsites from the east and west on Tuesday but were unable to find safe passage.

The helicopter returned to the skies on Wednesday morning with a road ambulance on standby.

But thick cloud cover hampered efforts to spot the group and the helicopter was grounded on Wednesday afternoon. 

There are three different major campgrounds the families could be isolated at and crews will attempt to reach all of them on Thursday to search for more campers affected by the floods.

"If people are concerned about their friends and family, don't wait, let us know while we still have resources active in the area," Mr Sullivan said.

with the Batemans Bay Post