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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Ditch the disaster tourism: Police warn killer social media not worth losing a life

While Canberrans thrilled to see overflowing dams and rivers are flocking to lookout points to grab a snap, ACT Policing and ACT State Emergency Services Agency (ACTSES) are begging sightseers not to risk their lives with disaster tourism by straying off the beaten path.

On Wednesday afternoon ACT Policing revealed the young woman rescued from Kambah Pool floodwaters the night before was visiting the area with friends to take photos of the flooded river.

When she moved closer to the river to get a better angle she slipped on wet rocks, fell into the water and was swept downstream until she was able to cling to a tree.

Police guard an ACT road closed due to floodwaters. Image: Facebook

ACT Policing Detective Inspector Simon Coady said no photo or social media post worth risking a life.

“The woman rescued from Kambah Pool was lucky to escape with no major injury because today we could have been talking about a very different outcome,” he said.

ACT Fire & Rescue and ACT Policing performed a swift water rescue together, with firefighters using throw bags and ropes to retrieve the stranded woman.

Detective Inspector Coady said a water rescue puts the lives of emergency services personnel at risk, too.

“While the rain may have eased today, rivers and flooded areas will take some time to subside so in the coming days we are still urging people to avoid those areas.”

ACTSES said it had received several reports of disaster tourism as people visit flooded locations.

The ACTSES received approximately 185 calls for assistance because of the wet weather yesterday.

By this morning 165 requests were completed, and ACTSES crews were still out working on the remaining 20 jobs.

The most common requests were for help with leaking roofs, fallen trees and flooded roads across Canberra. 

The community is urged to avoid going to flood affected areas, and be mindful that although the worst of the rain has passed, soaked river and creek catchments may rise again quickly with a small amount of rain.

For assistance in a storm or flood call ACTSES on 132 500.

Below are some incredible shots of Cotter Dam taken safely with a drone by young Canberran photographer Jack Read.

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