Several hundred people in New Zealand were evacuated from their homes Monday with some recounting dramatic helicopter rescues as heavy rain caused widespread flooding in the Canterbury region.
Authorities declared a state of emergency after some places received as much as 40 centimeters (16 inches) of rain over the weekend and into Monday. Forecasters warned of possible heavy rain through Monday evening before conditions improved.
The military helped evacuate more than 50 people including several overnight in an NH-90 military helicopter.
One man was clinging to a tree near the town of Darfield when he jumped into floodwaters and tried to swim to safety but was swept away, the military said.
Helicopter crews scoured the water for 30 minutes before finding the man and plucking him to safety. The military helicopter also rescued an elderly couple from the roof of their car.
Another man was rescued by a civilian helicopter pilot Sunday after he was swept from his farm as he tried to move his stock to safety.