THE small community of Rappville, south-west of Casino, is in mourning after long-time resident Kevin ‘Jack” Richards, 74, drowned when he tried to cross a flooded culvert on the Coraki to Ellangowan Road last week.
A former sawmiller and grazier, Mr Richards, who had retired to Ballina, was going to check one of his rural properties at Ellangowan on Wednesday morning when it’s believed his Toyota Hilux ute was swept off a culvert into Seelims Creek.
His family raised the alert when he failed to return home on Wednesday afternoon.
A police search was started and the Careflight Rescue Helicopter was called in to assist in a night search.
An SES floodboat crew found Mr Richards’ body on Thursday morning about 300 metres downstream of the crossing.
Heavy rain in the Casino and Coraki areas early last week caused minor flooding in areas of the Richmond Valley, closing a number of roads and prompting a minor flood warning for the Richmond River at Coraki.
A life-long resident of the Rappville area, Mr Richards moved to Ballina after retiring several years ago.
For many years Mr Richards ran a sawmill in Rappville with his brothers Jim and Alan. Although he had retired, Mr Richards still had grazing properties in the Rappville area and returned there regularly. He was highly respected for his untiring work ethic and commitment to his family and the Rappville community.
Mr Richards is survived by his widow Betty and children Suzanne, Lynette, Kevin, and Jacqueline.