Man remains missing in north Queensland flood waters

Australia

A man is missing in flood waters in north Queensland after a boat crashed near Ayr.

The man was one of three on board the boat at Groper Creek when it crashed near a jetty close to Hinkson Esplanade about 5.35pm on Friday.

Two men were thrown into the water, while the third was pulled to safety.

One man was swept away, while the other swam to safety and was treated for facial injuries and possible spinal injuries.

Farmers struggle to evacuate cattle during Queensland’s record breaking floods

Water police, swift water rescue crews, a helicopter and other local vessels resumed the search on Saturday but have so far failed to locate the missing man.

Rainfall in the state’s north has eased overnight as the monsoonal trough, which dumped more than a year’s rain on large swathes of north and western Queensland, pushes further offshore.

Meanwhile, residents in flood-ravaged Townsville have woken to the first sunshine in two weeks.

With only a few showers forecast for Saturday and sunshine predicted for the rest of the week, waterlogged homes are drying out as residents shovel mud and heave flood-damaged belongings on to the roadside.

Beds, white goods, lounge suites and teddies are piling up on the kerbs of suburban streets as residents get on with the massive clean up.

A total of 12,850 insurance claims amounting to a combined $161 million had been lodged by residents and businesses in the Townsville region by Saturday 9am.

Further inland, rural communities from Longreach to Charters Towers, and north to Kowanyama on Cape York Peninsula, remain surrounded by floodwaters.

Floodwaters are seen at Aplins Weir in Townsville, Friday, February 1, 2019. Townsville residents are again being told to leave their homes as north Queensland's flood disaster rolls on. (AAP Image/Andrew Rankin) NO ARCHIVING

Floodwaters are seen at Aplins Weir in Townsville

AAP

Drought-stricken graziers, who are estimated to have lost a staggering 300,000 head of cattle, have been using helicopters to find their surviving cattle isolated on high-ground.

Others are motoring around their stations in tinnies to inspect what’s left of fences and infrastructure.

After years of drought, the financial losses are expected to cripple many in the cattle industry, with some estimating the total cost could be as high as $300 million.

Some graziers have reported seeing piles of up to 500 head of dead cattle piled up in paddock corners after becoming weakened and disoriented.

The federal government has opened up grant funding, and the state government on Saturday extended its disaster assistance to several more local government areas, as well as primary producers in Winton.

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned the flood waters in the north west could take days to recede.

“The inland river catchments drain quite slowly so we’re looking at high water lever in those rivers for the next five to seven days,” Meteorologist Vinord Anand told AAP.

He said the water should drain south into the Channel Country around Boulia and Bedourie, and a flood warning has been issued for the Diamantina River.

A major flood warning remains in place for the Upper Burdekin, Flinders, Albert and Leichhardt Rivers, and a flood watch remains in place for catchments from the Daintree to Mackay.

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