Nine deaths confirmed
UPDATE 4.20pm: THE death toll from yesterday’s tsunami-like flash floods has risen to nine, with Premier Anna Bligh admitting it could be more than double that in coming days.
Ms Bligh said 66 people were still missing after five were found this afternoon.
Most of those missing are from the Grantham, Withcott and Gatton areas.
Three hundred people have been airlifted from Forrest Hill and evacuated to Gatton as rain and flooding continues in the Lockyer Valley.
The dead include a mother and her two children whose car was swept away in the raging floodwaters.
There were reports yesterday of a woman, 42, and her 13-year-old son being swept to their deaths after they were seen clinging to a tree near the intersection of James and Kitchener streets when they were washed away just after 2pm.
A paramedic entered the floodwaters to retrieve the woman’s body when it was located under a bridge in Chalk Drive.
The boy’s body was located in Kitchener Street.
Police located another two bodies in Murphys Creek just after 6pm.
It has been reported the victims were another adult and child.
West and East creeks broke their banks after parts of Toowoomba received more than 100mm of rain in less than three hours.
A two-metre wall of water hit the CBD, flooding businesses and homes.
A nursing home, library and shopping centre were evacuated.
Dozens of motorists were stranded on the Toowoomba Range after flooding blocked all four lanes of the highway at Withcott while landslides blocked the top-section.
Emergency Services struggled with multiple life rescues across the flooded city.
Police spent hours searching for three children who were reportedly swept away after swimming in a flooded creek at Withcott.
They have not yet been found.
Police last night issued an alert urging Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley residents living in low-lying areas to evacuate to higher ground.
Extra police were called to help with the dire situation at Grantham last night where further deaths have been reported.
Macfarlane expresses support
FEDERAL Member for Groom Ian Macfarlane has expressed his deep sadness at the loss of lives in flash flooding that hit Toowoomba and other parts of the region yesterday.
Mr Macfarlane also extended his sincere gratitude to the region’s emergency services personnel for their professional response to the sudden crisis.
“Many risked their own lives to rescue people in danger from the flash flood,” he said.
Mr Macfarlane said a huge effort from the government would be needed to rebuild the region’s roads and bridges.
He said the damage caused by the flooding was another blow for a region that had already suffered through heavy flooding.
“As a result of this flooding, we could be looking at a multi-billion dollar infrastructure catastrophe in Queensland,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“And that, of course, hasn’t ended yet.”
“With the clean up now underway, it will take some time to assess the full extent of the damage to local businesses, roads and infrastructure.
“Once that assessment clarifies the level of damage, I will meet with representatives from the Toowoomba Regional Council to determine how the Federal Government can best play a role in assisting our region to repair the damage and recover.”