Three injured in bach collapse; properties evacuated

A person trapped after their property collapsed at Orua Bay on the Āwhitu Peninsula was today...
A person trapped after their property collapsed at Orua Bay on the Āwhitu Peninsula was today rescued by Fire and Emergency New Zealand. Photo: RNZ
Five cliff-side houses at Orua Bay on Auckland's Āwhitu Peninsula have been evacuated after a bach was destroyed in a slip today, injuring three people.

It took search and rescue personnel at least two hours this afternoon to extricate one person who was trapped in the wreckage at Manukau Heads.

The slip happened after torrential rain caused numerous slips in rural parts of Āwhitu Peninsula in the Franklin district.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Fenz) regional manager Ron Devlin said it was a difficult rescue operation because the trapped person was a metre below tide line.

St John said two people were airlifted to Middlemore Hospital in a serious condition, and one person with minor injuries was taken to hospital by ambulance.

Fenz said four fire trucks attended the scene and a hovercraft carrying search and rescue teams came across the Manukau Harbour to assist.

An RNZ reporter at the scene said at least a dozen firefighters and police officers remained at the scene this afternoon while diggers and tractors removed debris from the beach.

Fenz said five other properties had been evacuated due to ongoing concerns about the cliff's stability.

Orua Bay Beach is lined with holiday baches - some of which sit on cliffs which have been saturated after the recent severe weather.

Tracy Rawlings, who also owns and is staying at a holiday bach at Orua Bay, said she was shocked to come across the scene.

"I was walking back along the beach and thought 'what is that?' And it had just collapsed onto the beach," she said.

She said the house that collapsed was used as a rental property and she understood the family who had rented it had just arrived from Australia.

Rawlings said it was an older woman who was trapped.

She said around five locals were helping the rescue operation, which was difficult because moving any broken piece of the bach meant there was a risk of hurting the woman.

Red heavy rain warning issued for BOP, Rotorua

MetService has issued a red heavy rain warning for the Bay of Plenty and Rotorua lakes, while an orange heavy rain warning has been issued for Bay of Plenty about and east of Kawerau, and also Gisborne north of Ruatōria.

The warning is in place from 3pm today to 10am Thursday.

People are warned to expect 70 to 110 mm of rain, with peak rates of 10 to 20mm per hour, especially about the ranges.

Auckland Emergency Management Controller Rachel Kelleher said during today’s 3pm update that heavy rain and winds had eased, and no warnings or watches were in place. “It was quite nice to look out the window and see a little bit of blue sky,” she said.

Another piece of good news, for parents perhaps, is that schools in the Auckland region are able to reopen tomorrow. But there is little else to cheer, with news that 168 homes have now been red-stickered.

Meanwhile, Metservice says the front moving southwards over the North Island will bring further heavy rain to Bay of Plenty and Mount Taranaki today and tomorrow.

”Red heavy rain warnings remain in place for Bay of Plenty west of Kawerau.

”Orange heavy rain warnings remain in place for Bay of Plenty about and east of Kawerau, northern Gisborne and Westland.

Heavy rain has eased in the Coromandel, and although there may still be a few showers, especially in the south, the threat of widespread heavy rain has passed.

Heavy rain watches remain in place for Mount Taranaki, western Tasman and northern Fiordland.

Metservice says troughs are expected to affect the west of the South Island through to Friday.

 - additional reporting NZ Herald