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Friday, January 21, 2022

Second man dies in southeast Queensland floods

A second man has died in floods in southeast Queensland which have left some communities isolated three days after more than half a metre of rain fell on the Wide Bay-Burnett region.

Police say the 52-year-old man’s body was found on Tuesday hours after he disappeared when his boat overturned in floodwaters while he was looking for stock with two female family members near Tiaro, south of Gympie.

His two family members made it to safety, but the man became the second person to die in the floods caused by remnants of Cyclone Seth dumping torrential rain on the region. 

Queensland Police can confirm the body of a man who went missing in flood waters near Tiaro earlier today has been located,” they said in a statement.

The body of a 22-year-old was found in a submerged ute on Saturday, while police hold “grave fears” for a 14-year-old girl who has been missing for three days.

Krystal Cain was last seen by her father after they abandoned their flooded car near the Burnett Highway at Booubyjan in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Water police, divers, volunteers and helicopters have been scouring the flood plain for any sign of the teenager, but Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said the search may eventually be scaled back.

“We have experts that advise on this, that people can only survive certain days,” she told reporters on Tuesday.

“It may be scaled down but certainly it has been extraordinary amount of searching going on for that child.”

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said 30 homes and 50 businesses have been damaged by floodwaters with the city of Maryborough.

A broken valve in the stormwater drain system allowed floodwater to bypass the city’s flood levee and surge up through the drains when the Mary River peaked at 9.96m on Monday night.

Police revoked an emergency declaration for Maryborough on Tuesday, but roads are closed and people are being warned to stay away from flood-affected areas.

Maryborough Mayor George Seymour said the Granville Bridge connecting the eastern and western parts of the city is significantly damaged, roads near Glewood have been destroyed and some communities remain isolated.

“There’s places we haven’t been able to access yet,” he said.

“I think there’ll be significant damage in places where you have 700mm of rain and in a day you’re going to have road damage.” 

Former Queensland governor Paul de Jersey has been appointed to lead the reconstruction effort once the water subsides.

Residents affected by the disaster will be able to access disaster grants of $180 for individuals and up to $900 for a family of five funding by the state and federal governments.

Low-interest loans of up $250,000 will be available for primary producers and small businesses impacted by the floods.

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