Bride-to-be’s shock as house swept away
Sarah Soars' and Joshua Edge's dream of getting married on the banks at the front of their house were shattered yesterday, when their Mid North Coast rental was washed down the Manning River.
As floodwaters surged through large parts of NSW, shocked neighbours filmed the three-bedroom home at Mondrook, near Taree, being swept down the river.
The couple had originally planned to "get married on the banks in front of the house", the home's owner Peter Bowie told the ABC, "but they called that off a couple of days ago because it was just getting wetter and wetter".
The 24-year-old bride-to-be told The Mid-North Coast News that she couldn't believe her eyes when, from a lookout - high above the Manning river - she spotted the house and all their possessions capsizing into the water at around 9:30am.
"I was up at the lookout at Taree West near where my younger sister lives for maybe 15 minutes before it started to move … I thought, 'Oh no, this can't be happening'," Ms Soars said.
"Next minute, the house was gone."
More than $100,000 worth of prized possessions are now gone, Ms Soars said, though someone did manage to find her 26-year-old fiance's "big wooden chest, which washed up somewhere with a bunch of valuables in it".
"But we'll have to start again with everything, even our clothes," she added.
While Ms Soars was at her parents' home in Taree on Friday night, Mr Edge was staying at his mum's place in nearby Tinonee.
"Originally me and my bridal party were supposed to stay the (Friday) night at my house, but decided to go to my mum's house in Taree because the driveways were getting flooded," Ms Soars said.
"We thought we'd just wait until the morning before we cancel anything, because it said on the weather app there wasn't meant to be much rain.
"But I woke up about 7:30am to a phone call from my partner, who said our house was flooded up the veranda and water was rushing in.
"He was at Tinonee, at his mum's house, but my younger sister lives near the lookout at Taree West which looks over where our house is at the property. Usually you can see the paddocks, but she said she couldn't see any grass at all … it was just covered in water."
Mr Bowie told the ABC he couldn't believe it when the water surged through his property and picked up the home.
"It literally floated like a houseboat, the whole house, fully intact," he said.
"It went so fast. It went nearly a kilometre all intact, 100 per cent. This house just lifted up and floated down the river."
The couple, who've been together nine years and had their wedding postponed in September last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, remain separated by floodwaters.
"I don't think it's really hit me that much yet … until I see my partner and we figure out where we are going," Ms Soars said.
"Obviously he has got his mum and I've got my mum, and our other family around town, but from living just us two to living with someone, it's hard. But I am grateful that I even have somewhere to go."
A GoFundMe page has been established by Joshua's brother, Lyle, to help the couple get back on their feet - with close to $50,000 already raised.
The deluge is expected to continue into next week, with the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) warning another 100mm of rain could fall at Port Macquarie, on the Mid North Coast.
The State Emergency Services (SES) received some 750 calls for help on Saturday night, taking the number of calls since Thursday to more than 4500, NSW SES Deputy Commissioner Daniel Austin told the ABC this morning.
He said the calls were showing "no sign of letting up any time soon", with 1500 volunteer responders dealing with "some pretty phenomenal conditions" in "some very, very trying circumstances".
Originally published as Bride-to-be's shock as house swept away