Helicopter lands on houseboat in Hawkesbury River as part of dramatic NSW flood rescue
It's like something out of a James Bond film — a helicopter landing on a boat, its crew leaping out to help at the 11th hour, as floodwaters surge around them.
Except this was no Hollywood blockbuster, rather, a real-life emergency on the Hawkesbury River.
As NSW's weekend of torrential rain sparked flooding in several areas, Marine Rescue NSW (MRNSW) was called to assist a houseboat drifting into the river at Gunderman about 85km north of Sydney.
When they arrived, they found a very large tree had lodged underneath the anchor, mooring and winch of a houseboat which had drifted about 30km from Lower Portland, with two people on board.
"They were literally stuck, they couldn't go anywhere and it was a very, very large tree," Sarah Adair from MRNSW's Hawkesbury branch said.
"The first thing we tried was to put a line around the stump of the tree and pull it off with our vessel but it actually snapped."
After several other failed attempts, the houseboat's skipper said a helicopter he owned was en route and could land on top of the boat, which was designed as a helipad.
"I was thinking 'Who is this? Is this Batman?'," Ms Adair said.
"It was quite amazing to see."
Shortly after, the chopper arrived with two people onboard and the six of them set about dislodging the tree from under the boat.
"We've never heard a houseboat with a helicopter on top of it before so it was an unusual experience for us."