Posted: 2 May, 2015
Rains claim five lives
The wild weather that claimed the lives of five Queenslanders has hit NSW's mid north coast with residents bunkering down waiting for the rains to stop.
(image - Brisbane Times)
The deaths of five people, including a five-year-old boy, have served as a tragic reminder of the danger of crossing flooded roads as Queensland was battered by storms.
An east coast low swept across the southeast on Friday afternoon, with therelentless downpour cutting off roads, washing away cars, and leaving dozensstranded.
Frustrated motorists spent hours in grid locked peak hour traffic and the rain wreaked havoc with public transport timetables.
Caboolture, north of Brisbane, was the hardest hit with more than 350mm ofrain falling within 24 hours - 277mm in just three hours.
Some drivers took their lives in their hands and attempted to cross flooded roads, defying repeated warnings from authorities.
Two four-wheel-drives were swept into a torrent at 5.30pm during an attempt to cross Beerburrum Road at Caboolture, which had been covered by the swollen King John Creek.
All three occupants in one car drowned - a 74-year-old man, 39-year-oldwoman and five-year-old boy, all from the same family.
Two people - a 21-year-old woman and her 16-year-old brother - managed to escape the second vehicle.
But they would face an agonising 12-hour wait not knowing what had happened to their 49-year-old father.
His body was recovered 100m downstream early on Saturday.
In nearby Burpengary late on Friday evening, firefighters rescued a 68-year-old woman who was clinging to a tree after she and her husband drove into floodwaters.
The 75-year-old's body was found more than six hours later.
Emergency Services Minister Jo-Ann Miller said the weather had been devastating.
"Queenslanders know that these families may never be the same again because their loved ones did not make it home."
An investigation is under way into each incident, Inspector Lee Jeffries said.
"I have only been in the Caboolture area for a limited time, I haven'tseen anything as significant and as tragic as this," he said.
"In any incident where there is visible floodwater across the road, it canbe easily avoided."