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People, horses trapped on New South Wales bridge as flash floods hit northeastern Australia

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A man paddles his kayak along a flooded street in the town of Milton in suburban Brisbane on Monday. PATRICK HAMILTON/AFP /AFP via Getty Images
A man paddles his kayak along a flooded street in the town of Milton in suburban Brisbane on Monday. PATRICK HAMILTON/AFP /AFP via Getty Images
  • Heavy downpours have deluged Australia's east coast, flooding homes and killing nine people.
  • On Tuesday, floodwaters left about 50 people and several horses stranded on a bridge in the town of Woodburn.
  • Across the region, suburbs and streets are waterlogged, forcing residents onto boats.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Up to 50 people and several horses were stranded on a bridge in Woodburn, New South Wales, on Monday evening when a surging river cut off both ends of the bridge from dry land, as the region faces some of the worst floods in its history.

In footage tweeted by Seven Network's "Sunrise" breakfast show, a column of cars can be seen stuck on the elevated stretch of the bridge while "half a dozen" horses appear to mill about. The bridge, surrounded by the swelling Richmond River, is flanked by dozens of partially submerged houses and trees.

Woodburn State Emergency Services Unit Commander Ashley Slapp told ABC News that the motorists and animals had to spend a night on the bridge because rescue teams couldn't retrieve them in the dark.

"We just had to make sure that they bunkered down, and we went in this morning and got them all out," he told the outlet on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Woodburn residents took shelter in the local public school, Slapp told the outlet.

Heavy floods have battered Australia's eastern coast for the past week, inundating thousands of homes in the states of New South Wales and Queensland and killing at least nine people. At least four other people are missing, Reuters reported.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison called the sudden influx of rain, which began on Thursday, a "weather bomb," as per the outlet.

In the city of Lismore in New South Wales, floodwaters peaked at 47.2 feet on Monday afternoon, the highest ever in history, The Guardian reported. Volunteers in kayaks, boats, and canoes joined the state's rescue efforts on the waterlogged streets, per the outlet.

A family steers their boat through a flooded street in the New South Wales suburb of Lawrence. SAEED KHAN/AFP via Getty Images
A family steers their boat through a flooded street in the New South Wales suburb of Lawrence. SAEED KHAN/AFP via Getty Images

On Tuesday, New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet said 300,000 residents had been affected by evacuation warnings in response to the "unprecedented" disaster. He urged people to evacuate upon instruction even if they had not been affected by past floods in the area.

In Queensland, where several areas received a month's worth of rain in one hour, families told ABC News of how water levels rose from their ankles to chest height in just three hours.

Around 40,000 homes in the state were without power as of Tuesday morning local time, The Guardian reported.

A Queensland Fire and Rescue Swift Water Rescue crew move through the flooded streets in the city of Paddington in suburban Brisbane. PATRICK HAMILTON/AFP /AFP via Getty Images
A Queensland Fire and Rescue Swift Water Rescue crew move through the flooded streets in the city of Paddington in suburban Brisbane. PATRICK HAMILTON/AFP /AFP via Getty Images

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