- Special Pages
SYDNEY: Two people were missing and the body of a third person was recovered from raging floodwaters as severe storms pounded northeastern Australia yesterday, forcing more than 1,000 to flee their homes.
Army aircraft were deployed in the northern state of Queensland, where storms generated by former tropical cyclone Oswald unleashed punishing rains and localised tornadoes and floodwaters threatened several major towns.
One woman was plucked to safety in Biloela, 600km northwest of Brisbane, after she spent eight hours clinging to a tree. At Gympie, north of Brisbane, three families waited on the roofs of their homes for seven hours before rescue helicopters, hampered by high winds, managed to reach them, town mayor Ron Dyne said.
Queensland residents were bracing for the river to peak above nine metres, well in excess of the 7.92m seen in 2011. Further north at Gladstone, about 900 homes were evacuated and several towns in the region were already isolated by the rising waters. Across the state some 58,000 homes were without power and that number was growing by the hour.