N. Zealand Rivers Burst
Into Flood Overnight
Wellington (NZ), Sat: Surging from the Southern Alps with catastrophic suddenness after torrential rains, the Westland and Canterbury Rivers, in a nightmare 24 hours, caused widespread flood damage which is likely to taye years to repair.
Many west coast areas are still isolated but reports filtering through by radio report "appalling" stock losses.
Only death reported is that of a motorist whose car was engulfed when a bridge approach collapsed under him on the Greymouth-Reefton Highway.
Dozens of bridges disappeared into the swollen rivers. Many others lost several spans leaving gaps up to 400 feet.
Railway, electricity and telephone services are all disrupted. Many roads are impassable.
After 24 hours of galeforce winds and continuous
rain the west coast is isolated from the rest of the South Island.
At Blackball a combined rail and road bridge, providing the only rail link with the township and the Blackball coalmine was severed. About 150 feet of bridge swept down the Grey River.
Approaches to the other
west coast bridges are completely washed away.
The main rail communications, between Christchurch and Dunedin was washed out at the northern approach io the mile-long Rakaia bridge in mid-Canterbury early this morning.