Emergency Service rescue a man from the centre of town after heavy flooding in town.
Emergency Service rescue a man from the centre of town after heavy flooding in town. Marc Stapelberg

Face of Lismore flood dies in tragic circumstances

DION Ord, the man whose dramatic rescue became the iconic image of the 2017 Lismore floods, has died.

It is understood that Mr Ord's body was found under the Uniting Church building in the Lismore CBD last Monday.

Mr Ord became the face of the Lismore floods when he was dramatically rescued in March 2017.

Photos seen around Australia and the world show the moment emergency services rescued Mr Ord from the swollen Wilson River which had breached the city's flood levee and was thundering through the CBD.

The Northern Star reported that raging water buffeted through the centre of town past the United Church isolating Mr Ord when two swiftwater rescue officers tackled the surging water to pull him to safety.

The emergency service crew were forced to abandon their rescue boat and plunge into the water to pull Mr Ord to safety after he became trapped against the fence of the United Church with no place to go.

His mother Narelle Ord, of Casino, said her son's funeral will be held at the Muli Muli community near Woodenbong this Friday at 1pm.

"We are taking him back home to the community," Mrs Ord said.

She said her 39-year-old son was only home for a fortnight after the 2017 floods before he hit the road again. "He just loved to go walkabout, to be outside,'' she said.

Mrs Ord said she was frightened that her son may have died from the cold. She asked her niece to see where he was last camped in Lismore.

"I was terribly worried how cold it was."

"No Aunty, he had blankets and a mattress," her niece said.

"He came from a good home but Dion always felt as if he was closed in - he just loved being outside on the streets.

"I know he found comfort when he came home - we made the most TLC we could give him."

Laura Copeland attended Christian camp with Mr Ord as a child.

"Yes, he was homeless but I think the thing that kept him going was his belief in God - God always watched over him, no matter what."

"People know about homelessness but do they care?"

His death has prompted an outpouring of grief and anger on Facebook.

Dennis Pickford, of Lismore, wrote, "I just find it deeply disturbing that someone has died under these circumstances in Lismore."

Amelia Macqueen wrote, "Gosh this is very sad."

Jo-Anne Greenaway wrote, "How terribly sad."

Bindi Maddern wrote, "That's both sad and ridiculous to have happened on the Northern Rivers."

Michelle Harris, of Lismore, said she wants to do more than express her frustration and sadness on Facebook; she wants to do something to help the homeless of Lismore, especially during the bitter, cold nights.

To donate jumpers, food and other items email lismorecommunity2480@gmail.com



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