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Queensland floodwaters wash ute off road, authorities airlift five stranded men

Thursday January 10, 2019 - 20:25 EDT
ABC licensed image
The five men are safe and well after being airlifted to Proserpine by CQ Rescue. - ABC licensed

Five men stranded in floodwaters in north Queensland have been rescued without injury after their ute was washed off the road, but rescue authorities were delayed in getting to them because their helicopter was low on fuel when the men were spotted.

Police said the men were in a ute that was washed off Tondara Road at Bogie, west of Bowen, this morning.

Around 8:00am, the mother of one of the vehicle's occupants called police to say her son had contacted her and informed her that water was rising around the ute he was in.

On Thursday afternoon, police confirmed a nearby farmer had located the men and contacted authorities.

Earlier, a rescue helicopter dispatched from Townsville to search for the men was prevented from landing due to the bad weather.

Another helicopter sent from Mackay landed in a clearing adjacent to Tondara Road at Bogie, near the crossing of Molongle Creek.

That aircraft had to refuel in Proserpine and returned to the area after 3:00pm to extract the men.

A CQ Rescue spokesperson said the men's dogs had to be left behind, but that the men were "in good health and not injured".

CQ Rescue air crewman Russell James said the men were found "cold, tired and hungry" beside a creek bed near a road.

The helicopter had left the area when two of the missing men emerged and began signalling to a local station owner for help.

"We had actually departed when two of the guys turned up and shouted out to the station owner," Mr James said.

"Luckily, he has our number and called us and we were able to refuel and return and pick all five of them up."

Mr James said the ute the men were travelling in washed away when they tried to cross a flooded creek bed.

"Luckily they all managed to get out of the vehicle. It was quite a walk through the night to where they ended up. They are lucky boys that is for sure," he said.

"If it's flooded, forget it, and they found that out the hard way, bit embarrassed I'm sure."

The group had been in the area on a pig hunt last night but heavy rainfall has blocked the only road in and out of the area.

The Bruce Highway is currently cut between Ayr and Bowen at Gumlu due to flooding.

Strathbogie, south of Ayr, has received 432 millimetres of rain in the 24 hours to 9:00am, while Eton Vale had falls of 224mm.

At Groper Creek, near Ayr, 184mm was recorded.

Further inland, south of Theodore, Downfall Creek received 153mm while Cracow recorded 139mm.

Moderate to heavy falls were recorded from Ingham north to Mossman late on Thursday afternoon.

The BOM in the hour to 4:00pm, 91mm of rain fell at Menavale, north of Tully.


© ABC 2019

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