BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA (AP) – Parts of Australia’s third-most populous city Brisbane were under water yesterday after heavy rain brought record flooding to some east coast areas and killed eight people.
The flooding in Brisbane and its surrounds is the worst since 2011 when the city of 2.6 million people was inundated by what was described as a once-in-a-century event.
The latest fatality was a man in his 50s who drowned yesterday after driving his car into floodwater before dawn at Gold Coast city, south of Brisbane, Queensland state police said. The bodies of the man and his dog were retrieved hours later from a submerged car which had been washed from the road, a police statement said.
Queensland emergency services warned life-threatening flash flooding was occurring in parts of Gold Coast. Emergency crews made more than 130 swift-water rescues in 24 hours, officials said.
All eight flood deaths have been in Queensland state, of which Brisbane is the capital. A search continues for a solo sailor, aged in his 70s, who fell overboard from his vessel in the Brisbane River near the city centre on Saturday.
Police were also searching for a man missing from Goodna, west of Brisbane and another Esk, northwest of Brisbane.
South of the Queensland border, police yesterday were searching for man after officers heard him calling for help on Sunday in floodwaters in the New South Wales town of Lismore.
Police warned downtown Brisbane businesses along the river waterfront to evacuate after a pontoon carrying a crane broke from its moorings upstream and began riding the floodwaters towards them.
Multiple emergency flood alerts were in place for Brisbane suburbs, where 2,145 homes and 2,356 businesses were submerged yesterday. Another 10,827 properties were partially flooded above the floorboards.
The Brisbane River peaked yesterday at 3.85 metres, officials said.
That was 61 centimetres below the 4.46 metre flood level reached in 2011, officials said.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the rainfall over Brisbane had been extraordinary since November when authorities were considering water use restrictions due to a shortage.
“It is still a significant event, and I think everyone would agree no one has seen this amount of rain in such a short period of time,” in the southeastern area, Palaszczuk said.