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Man's body found after being swept away in floodwaters near Gympie as wife watched

By Lexy Hamilton-Smith and staff, Tuesday October 17, 2017 - 16:59 EDT
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The flooded causeway where the car was swept away. - ABC

A man's body has been found after his car was swept off a flooded causeway near Gympie in south-east Queensland overnight.

The 67-year-old man disappeared in front of his wife when he went to retrieve their car from floodwaters in Mary's Creek about 7:00pm last night.

Instead he was washed away in fast-flowing water.

Their car was found this morning.

Gympie Mayor Mick Curran said conditions had been very difficult and his thoughts are with the man's wife and family.

"The message has to be out there — if it's flooded, just simply forget it — we hear that all the time, but sometimes it's very difficult to see when these areas are in fact flooded so caution must be taken at all times," he said.

Rescue crews could not use flood boats last night as the water was too dangerous and there was too much debris.

Police said search teams covered up to eight kilometres along the creek bed.

Officer-in-charge of Gympie police, Senior Sergeant Greg Davie said the power of water flow in these situations was "phenomenal".

"It can just pick up a car and take it away. Also you don't realise what's underneath that water … with the amount of flow we've had, the erosion we've had, it can take away the road surface and you'll drop straight into the water," he said.

"Your vehicle will then fill up with water and you're trapped."

Meanwhile, a second rescue took place north of Miriam Vale, north of Bundaberg, with a car stuck in flood waters.

Almost 300 millimetres of rain has been reported in the area over the past 24 hours.

Emergency services said a car became stranded on Fingerboard Road near the turn off to Agnes Water early this morning, with the driver seeking refuge on the roof of the car.

A helicopter was dispatched from Rockhampton to assist the rescue.

BOM said the hammered the coastline last March.

The heavy rain is expected to move north towards Rockhampton later today.


© ABC 2017

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