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Heavy rain floods Helensvale caravan park on the Gold Coast, road collapses on Sunshine Coast

By Lexy Hamilton-Smith and staff, Monday January 20, 2020 - 11:59 EDT
ABC licensed image
A safety barrier has been set up around the hole. - ABC licensed

A road has partially collapsed on the Sunshine Coast in what the local council believe could have been caused by recent heavy rain.



Police were called to Tingira Crescent at Sunrise Beach around 11:00pm on Saturday night to a large hole in the road and contacted the Noosa Shire Council to assess the damage.

"It's taken out half the road, so my estimate would be roughly 10-15 metres wide and 3 to 4 metres deep," Noosa Shire Council spokesman Ken Furdek said.

"What we have been able to ascertain is that it's been quite a big slip that has been caused by either the heavy rain overnight and Friday night or by a burst water main."

A specialist contractor was expected to be onsite during the week to start stabilising the site.

"A full repair of the road is likely to take some time," he said.

"Our priority is to get that land stabilised near the unit block and once that's done then our council crews will be on-site to repair the road.

"We encourage people to stay away from the area."

Local resident Tracey Stevens was at a cafe down the road when she saw it.

"A car would disappear in there for sure," she said.

"If you didn't know it was there it would be hard to see, people are very lucky they didn't get hurt."

Deluge at Gold Coast caravan park

On the Gold Coast, a massive clean-up was underway at a caravan park after what locals describe as "life-threatening" flash flooding ripped through the area, forcing 400 guests to flee to higher ground.

Saturday's deluge smashed through the Helensvale Big 4 Caravan Park during high tide on a nearby creek.



The fast-rising floodwaters consumed caravans and cars and were so strong they carried away a minibus.

Tow trucks were called in to remove damaged vans.

Guest Jenny Cowman was camping with her grandchildren and said they were traumatised.

"About 4:00am my son-in-law came screaming in 'Jenny, Jenny! Wake up quick! We have to go!'" she said.

"I thought I was having a dream.

"My daughter's child was screaming and she saw there was water all through the camper.

"She said later to me she was not worried … but they could have drowned, they were only on little, thin air mattresses at the time, they could have rolled over. It only takes a few minutes in water.

"The kids were so scared."



Ms Cowman, who lives in Chinchilla, said it was their first family holiday with their camper trailers.

"My mum who was with us is 85 years old and she nearly had a heart attack being so scared," she said.

"We tried to stay as calm as possible but it just kept rising.



"Apparently they have 24-hour security here and CCTV surveillance, but nothing, no-one came to warn us."

The family lost two cars and two camper trailers and fear their damage bill will be around $100,000.

Only the cars were insured.



The park staff refused to let media in to talk to other residents or look at the damage.

No-one was injured during the flooding event and the park remains closed.


- ABC

© ABC 2020

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