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Lifesavers help rescue baby in NSW floods

A baby who was having breathing problems on a NSW property cut off by floodwaters has been rescued by two NSW lifesavers who used an inflatable dinghy to reach the freezing infant.

Paramedics were called about 4.30pm on Wednesday about a baby boy who was struggling to breathe at a home in Bulga in the flooded Hunter region.

“Any callout involving an infant with breathing difficulties is very concerning, let alone in a flood zone,” NSW Ambulance inspector Jake Broughton-Rouse said.

A Rural Fire Service member trained as a community first responder by NSW Ambulance managed to reach the 10-month-old before handing him and his mother over to two members of Surf Life Saving NSW, Lee Archer and Shane Dowsett.

The pair used an inflatable dinghy used to pluck people from hazardous surf to ferry the baby and his mother to safety, battling flood currents to bring the boy to paramedics waiting near the flooded Bulga bridge.

Mr Dowsett said it was probably the worst call he’d ever received.

“Especially when a baby’s involved, that’s a little bit distressing because you know as a parent what it would be like seeing your child not breathing,” he told ABC TV on Thursday.

Mr Archer shrugged off their role in the drama, saying the pair were just part of a chain of people involved in saving the baby’s life.

“Hopefully at the end of the day that chain works,” Mr Archer said.

The baby was assessed before being taken to Singleton Hospital in a stable condition.

“The community first responders did an outstanding job in assessing and transporting the patient and mother across flood waters to the waiting ambulance,” Mr Broughton-Rouse said.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the rescue, among 50 conducted around the state overnight, brought home the extent of flooding around NSW.

“What trumps all of that is that wonderful spirit of service that Australians have in putting their own lives on the line to help others,” the premier said on Thursday.

He thanked all the volunteers risking their lives amid the floods.

“You really make our state and our people proud,” Mr Perrottet said.

Just hours before the baby rescue, police pulled a 72-year-old woman from a 4WD swept off a flooded rural road north of Kempsey on the mid-north coast.

She called for help after she was unable to get out of the car, which was wedged against a line of trees.

When a local sergeant made his way to the semi-submerged vehicle, he found the water was up to the trapped woman’s neck.

Five other officers helped the sergeant bring the woman to safety after managing to open the door.

Police drove her to Kempsey Hospital where she was treated for hypothermia and exhaustion.

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