Swan Hill Incident Control Centre, The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper
A complex aerial operation has placed bulka bags filled with 78,000 kilograms of sand along a levee bank west of the Loddon River at Kerang.
The operation involved a large helicopter with a 150-foot lift line, a small type 3 helicopter and a seven-person aviation team supported by ground crew.
The levee bank, situated near properties and major arterial roads linking Kerang to Swan Hill, Boort and Quambatook, breached when the Loddon River reached major flood levels in late October.
Photos: Swan Hill Incident Control Centre
After a risk assessment found it was not possible to use ground machinery to repair the levee, it was decided that aircraft would be utilised to shore up the damaged levee.
The aerial operation was carried out on Friday, November 11, with emergency services taking advantage of suitable weather conditions ahead of forecast significant rainfall the following day.
The operation began with a briefing at Kerang Airport, before moving to a staging area near the levee breaches where 78 bulka bags weighing 1,000 kilograms each had been prepared for aerial lifting.
Over the course of five hours, Helitak 369 lifted the bags and placed them along the damaged levee bank.
The small helicopter performed a coordination role, providing direction, intelligence and a safety overview of the tasking.
“The result of this operation is that floodwater has been diverted away from properties and roads and is now moving along the Loddon River,” said Incident Controller, Dean Simmons.
“Our ground crews and aircraft team are continuing to observe the extent of the floods and monitor the conditions of levees, identify levee breaches and assist with planning for flood response operations.”
The multi-agency response to the floods in the Loddon Mallee is being led by a team of more than 20 incident management specialists in the Swan Hill Incident Control Centre, supporting taskforces on the ground.
This article appeared in The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper, 17 November 2022.