Man rescued by helicopter in New Zealand floods

"It has been a really delicate rescue, very lucky. We tried a rescue helicopter earlier, but they couldn't get through because of the weather, so it's just been a really good outcome for everybody," said Fire and Rescue New Zealand's Charlie Kelland.

Vehicles and properties were surrounded by floodwater, as tree branches were snapped by high winds.

Neil Brown, the mayor of Ashburton, a town of about 35,000 people on New Zealand's South Island, said that "half of Ashburton" could be forced to evacuate if the river's banks break, The New Zealand Herald daily reported.

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