A homeless man feared missing in raging floodwaters on Pig Island in the middle of the Shoalhaven River has been found safe, although a little worse for wear for his ordeal.
Police said concerns for welfare of the 68-year-old man, who is known to take refuge on the island, were raised around 11.30am on Tuesday, August 11 after he hadn't been seen for about four days.
It is understood the man lived on the edge of the island with his two dogs and used a canoe to come and go.
South Coast Police District officers from Nowra, along with Water Police and Police Rescue personnel, who were already on the river in a police launch as part of the ongoing flood emergency, traveled to island to conduct a search.
The man, who a police spokesman said was homeless, was found walking on the island.
NSW Ambulance Paramedics were transported to the island and assessed the man, who was having mobility issues due to the extremely muddy conditions and his ongoing medical issues.
Due to his condition and the conditions of the island it was decided to airlift him to the mainland.
The man told his rescues he hadn't eaten for four days but had drunk water, believed to be muddy floodwater.
He had managed to make it to high land and sheltered next to one of the structures on the island.
A NSW Rural Fire Service helicopter that was in the area undertaking work in the flood emergency for the SES, airlifted the man to the mainland and he was taken to Shoalhaven District Hospital.
It is understood the man has camped on and off on the small strip of land on the western (Bolong) side of Pig Island, towards the Nowra bridge end of the island for a number of years.
John Bryce, who manages the island for the ASX-listed ASF Group, a consortium with links to China, said the man had been "living rough".
"He's camped on a sort of high piece of land just to the west of the main island on and off," Mr Bryce said.
"He's been around for as long as I've managed the island," he said. "About five years.
"But I hadn't seen him or spoken to him for about 12 months, so I assumed he must have moved on."
He said he understood the man was originally living on a wooden boat on the river.
"I believe he had a car parked on the Terara side of the island, I think somewhere near the caravan park and would use a canoe to make his way out," Mr Bryce said.
"He's pretty lucky, especially considering the amount of water over the island.
"And the amount of debris that has been left behind."
At the height of Monday morning's peak in the Shoalhaven River, Pig Island, or as it is officially known Burraga Island, was almost completely underwater.
Only a few high points remained above the raging flood waters.
By mid afternoon the waters had receded and around half of the island was visible.
Mr Bryce was able to gain access to the island on Tuesday afternoon, with the flood taking out the island's ferry access.
"One of the cables snapped in the flood," he said.
"We've got over and had a look. All the fences are gone - posts, corners posts, wire the lot. There is a huge amount of debris everywhere.
"It's going to be a massive clean up.
"We'll just have to wait for the ferry to be back in action before we can get equipment over there to start the work."