'Don't be a galoot': Another rescue after sign ignored

Police have added their voice to calls for motorists to obey road closure signs after two people had to be retrieved from the roof of their car in the third incident of its kind today.

Police Otago Coastal team leader road policing Senior Sergeant Jared Kirk said emergency services were called to rescue a driver and passenger from the roof of their vehicle after they tried to cross a flooded road between Balclutha and Clydevale.

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"We ask that drivers remain patient, keep your speeds down on these roads, and obey all road closure signs.

"Drivers who ignore road warnings are potentially placing themselves and others at risk," Snr Sgt Kirk said.

Tapanui fire chief Roger O'Leary has also vented his frustration after two other people had to be rescued from inundated cars after they ignored road closure signs.

The rescues have prompted Clutha authorities have repeated their appeals to avoid unnecessary travel today.

Two people had to be rescued from inundated cars in separate incidents near Kelso in West Otago this morning, Mr O'Leary said.

"We've had two separate people think it's a good idea to ignore 'road closed' signage and drive themselves straight into floodwater. It's just a total waste of emergency service time when we've got a thousand things to attend to in this situation."

In the first incident, a male driver dialled 111 before leaving his vehicle partially submerged and walking home, Mr O'Leary said.

"That means we had to get police involved and find him to check on his safety. It's just incredible how stupid some people are."

In the second incident, a woman had ignored a closure sign and attempted to drive through floodwater once more, he said.

Both incidents were resolved without further harm to those involved.

As of midday, Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan said it was too early to assume the worst was over.

"We still need to be cautious, and will be keeping a running watch with further rain and a high tide on the way this afternoon."

Mr Cadogan praised the efforts of officials and members of the public in addressing the emergency situation.

"We're aware there's considerable disruption for people right across the district, including a closure of Finegand [freezing works] for the day, but it's been pleasing to see the practical and common sense approach most have adopted."

However, he too appealed to residents planning to drive today.

"There's a reason why flood signage is up on many roads. Don't be a galoot and ignore it, and stay at home unless you absolutely need to get somewhere."

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