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Man missing after boat crashes in floodwaters in Ayr in north Queensland

Sunday February 10, 2019 - 09:05 EDT
ABC licensed image
Justin Scott went overboard after his boat crashed into a jetty, which was obscured by floodwaters. - ABC licensed

The search for a man missing in floodwaters in north Queensland after the boat he was on crashed into a jetty on Friday evening has continued.

Police said Justin Scott, 35, was with two other men when they hit the jetty at Groper Creek, near Ayr, around 5:30pm.

Acting Inspector Matthew Lyons said the search was complex and ongoing.

"Access to the location is quite difficult, it's only accessible from boat," he said.

"We need to keep having hope, for the family they need hope."

The trio was thrown into the water and two of the men made it to safety, with one treated for injuries.

A search involving water police, swift water crews, and a helicopter last night failed to find the third man.

The search resumed this morning with local boat owners also scanning the area.

It is understood the men may have driven over the top of the jetty, which was not visible due to rising flood waters.

Acting Inspector Lyons said the priority was finding the missing man.

"At this stage it's too early to speculate what the cause of the accident was but suffice to say that the lives of three families have now been changed," he said.

'It's like the rug has been pulled from underneath you'

Meanwhile, the struggle for some graziers to get fodder to their cattle is continuing in the state's north-west.

It is predicted that , and those stranded are at risk of starving.

Debbie and Jeff Nichols have not been able to get back to their flooded cattle station, about 100 kilometres north west of Winton.

"I think the hardest part is not knowing what is at home — I'm sure once we get home the devastation will really hit harder," Ms Nichols said.

"It's been such a battle for seven, eight years of raging drought … and then at the last minute it's like the rug has been pulled from underneath you.

"The rain has killed them — at least in the drought we could find feed and keep them alive, but this is beyond a joke."

Richard Forbes from Rural Aid said hay drops would be a lifeline for struggling farmers.

"It's absolutely crucial that we get it distributed as quickly as possible," he said.

"Four truckloads have arrived [in Winton], we've got another 350 bales arriving tomorrow, and another 300 bales on Monday.

"We'll keep the trucks coming until the farming community tells us that they're OK and those cattle are alright."

Tipped train remains out of reach

Queensland Rail (QR) said it still cannot access a train that toppled and spilled metals in floodwaters in the state's north-west.

The train, which was carrying zinc, lead and copper, was being stowed near Julia Creek, when major flooding caused several of it's wagons to overturn.

QR chief executive Nick Easy said the full impacts of the spill could not be determined until floodwaters recede.

Mr Easy said Queensland Rail is working with other agencies to respond to the incident and will continue aerial inspections.

He said all other stowed trains were safe.

Belinda Murphy, the Mayor of McKinlay Shire which includes Julia Creek, said most of the region's 2,500 kilometre road network is under water.

She said the council was also working with the Australian Defence Force to drop off supplies to isolated properties out of range of smaller helicopters.

"So that's happening at the moment, there's already a lot done but we've got a list for the whole shire," she said.

Inspectors say 1,700 homes damaged in Townsville

Authorities expect to finish damage assessments of flood-damaged homes and businesses in Townsville by tomorrow.

Crews said of the 4,000 homes inspected 1,700 have sustained damage.

Assistant Commissioner Kevin Walsh from the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services said the clean up was ongoing.

"People will see plenty of trucks out there today to assist people to hose out and assist in furniture removal but I must say the people of Townsville are very resilient and there's a lot of work being done with neighbours helping neighbours so its incredible to see," he said.


© ABC 2019

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