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Missing father found dead in Queensland floods, bringing death toll to two


A missing father-of-three has been found dead in Queensland floodwaters after his motorbike was located submerged in floods yesterday morning.

It’s the second death in the south-east due to flash flooding in two days, with several more requiring rescue after periods of torrential rain.

It’s believed Phil Lambert, 54, hadn’t seen the rising floods when driving through Cedar Pocket in Gympie yesterday morning and was hit by a torrent of rushing water.

Swift-water rescue crews, SES, and police divers all worked to locate Mr Lambert. (Nine)

Mr Lambert’s body was located a short distance from where he went missing, after extensive searches from the swift water rescue team, a rescue helicopter and emergency services.

His family was nearby when he was found.

Gympie yesterday received the state’s heaviest amount of rainfall — around 300 mm of rain drenched the area, causing the nearby Mary River to swell.

Police had previously found his motorbike, backpack and helmet with searches continuing this morning for the father-of-three. (Nine)
A helmet was found in the floodwaters of Gympie as the search for a missing motorbike rider continues.
A helmet was found in the floodwaters of Gympie during the search for the missing rider. (9News)

Queensland Police Inspector Patrick Swindells have called the conditions that hit the region in Queensland’s Wide Bay-Burnett district “horrific”.

“It was a very large dump on water in a very small amount of time,” he said.

On the nearby Sunshine Coast, a 63-year-old woman was found dead in her car, after it became submerged in floodwaters at Belli Park.

The Gold Coast was also hit, with heavy rain claiming parks and roads.

Flood waters encroaching on roads in Gympie, Queensland. (Nine)
This freight train derailed at Traveston near Gympie. It was swept off the tracks by the raging floodwaters.
This freight train derailed at Traveston near Gympie. It was swept off the tracks by the raging floodwaters. (9News)
Floodwaters have cut off several roads across Gympie and in Queensland’s south-east. (Nine)
South-east Queensland is bracing for its second day of heavy rain, as a slow-moving trough sweeps across the state and into northern New South Wales today.

With more wet weather forecast for the South West, Darling Downs, Wide Bay Burnett, Sunshine Coast, Moreton, Gold Coast, Logan and Brisbane region, there are fears flood waters may continue to rise.

Queensland Police have issued renewed calls for residents to stay safe and to avoid dangerous floodwaters.

“Locally intense rainfall along with a damaging wind risk and embedded severe thunderstorm activity can result in extremely hazardous conditions on roadways,” a police statement read.

“Trying to navigate these hazards, either in vehicles or on foot, can be extremely dangerous as water levels can rise and fall quickly.”

Residents have been urged to avoid driving, and where necessary proceed with extreme caution and reduced speed.

“Parents are also reminded to ensure their children are not playing in flood prone waterways, watercourses and drains as water levels can rise quickly,” the statement said.

A cracked road is seen in Gympie, in south-east Queensland. Cedar Pocket Road has been subject to extreme rain and flash flooding.
A cracked road is seen in Gympie, in south-east Queensland. Cedar Pocket Road has been subject to extreme rain and flash flooding. (Queensland Police)
QFES Deputy Commissioner Mark Roche said authorities are on high alert amid the extreme weather.
QFES Deputy Commissioner Mark Roche said authorities are on high alert amid the extreme weather. (Today)

Queensland Fire and Emergency Service (QFES) Deputy Commissioner Mark Roche said crews have completed 240 SES tasks since 5am yesterday and 19 swift water rescues.

He urges residents to remain alert today, and to avoid floodwaters.

“Please don’t be complacent at the moment, there are some areas that only are having light rain. We believe the rain is coming,” he said.

“We’ve got quite a number of our SES volunteers prepped and ready to support where needed and also our swift water rescue crews, we’ve increased the numbers. We have them placed around the state.

“But we are saying to people they need to take responsibility as well.”

Low lying roads on the Sunshine Coast turning into creeks after heavy downpours this morning.
Low lying roads on the Sunshine Coast turning into creeks yesterday after heavy downpours this morning. (9News)
Swiftwater rescue crews have attended multiple incidents in south-east Queensland in the past 24 hrs.
Swiftwater rescue crews have attended multiple incidents in south-east Queensland in the past 24 hours. ( Qld Fire & Emergency)

Mr Roche said crews have completed 240 SES tasks since 5am yesterday and 19 swift water rescues.

Authorities are urging residents not to drive through floodwaters and to delay travel if need be.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) are urging residents in the two states to remain on alert as a slow moving trough moves across the east coast.

A severe weather warning is in place for northern NSW with people in the Northern Rivers and parts of Mid North Coast and Northern Tablelands Forecast Districts most affected.

Heavy rainfall which may lead to flash flooding is expected to redevelop from the east tonight and extend inland over areas between Fraser Island, Kingaroy, Oakey and Stanthorpe during Thursday, and continue into Friday,” the BoM wrote.

“Six-hourly rainfall totals between 80 and 120 mm are likely, reaching up to 180 mm over areas east of Gympie and Ipswich.”

Forecast model comparison of predicted accumulated rainfall across Queensland and NSW between Thursday and Saturday.
Forecast model comparison of predicted accumulated rainfall across Queensland and NSW between Thursday and Saturday. (Weatherzone)
A swollen river is seen from the RACQ chopper during a flight over Gympie.
A swollen river is seen from the RACQ chopper during a flight over Gympie. (RACQ)

There are multiple flood warnings in place for both states.

The Tweed, Brunswick, Wilsons, Richmond, Orara, Bellinger and Nambucca Rivers are of the most concern in NSW.

In Queensland authorities are watching the Georgina River, Eyre Creek, the Mary River, Tinana and Six Mile Creeks and Stanley River.

Early this morning, the BoM also warned of a heavy thunderstorm moving through Emerald in the central highlands.

At this time, a severe thunderstorm warning was issued for damaging wind gusts and heavy rainfall.

Person rescues from rising waters at Lismore.

Person rescued from rising floodwaters in NSW Northern Rivers

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