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Backpackers rescued after being trapped by floodwaters in Far North Queensland

Thursday April 22, 2021 - 04:20 EST
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A rescue helicopter was launched to find the campers and winch them to safety. - ABC

Four backpackers have been winched to safety after they were trapped by floodwaters in a far north Queensland valley for several days.

Police say six international tourists went camping in the Goldsborough Valley, south of Cairns, over the weekend.

Two returned to the Tablelands, but the remaining four became trapped after heavy rains flooded parts of the valley.

A friend of the group notified police when the three men and one woman failed to return to work on Tuesday.

Police said there was no phone signal in the area where the campers were based.

Heavy rainfall and swollen rivers initially prevented police and rangers from reaching the campers by foot or vehicle.

Inspector Andrew Cowie said a rescue helicopter was launched on Wednesday which located the group, but it was initially unable to collect them due to the weather.

"The Helicopter was unable to return until weather conditions permitted for that winching to occur," he said.

Inspector Cowie said the group had some supplies and were not injured, but it was a race against time as their food was due to run out that day.

"In relation to their water, they were reasonably well equipped, however one of their vehicles had been destroyed by the rising floodwater," he said.

"They were in good spirits and very thankful that there was a rescue response provided for them."

He said the group was particularly lucky, given the danger of the area.

"In addition to the rising floodwaters that comes with its own perils, snakes that do wash down ? if they'd tried to leave that area and travelled through flooded creeks, that's an added danger," he said.

"The message now is: be aware of the weather conditions, understand that the weather conditions will seriously impact on your safety.

"Make sure that you've got appropriate safety resources in place, including personal locator beacons."

Since Sunday, the region has been drenched by hundreds of millimetres of rain.


© ABC 2021

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