Sun, Apr 05, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Floodwaters in Australia claim life of elderly driver

AFP , SYDNEY

Australian police said yesterday they had recovered the body of an elderly woman whose car was swept off a bridge by raging floodwaters in the country’s northeast.

Waters more than 1m deep surged over the Six Mile Creek crossing at Kin Kin, near the tourist town of Noosa, during flash floods in the state of Queensland late on Thursday, officials said.

“The vehicle was quickly swept downstream and out of sight. Searches of the immediate area by [a witness] failed to locate any trace of the vehicle or its occupant,” police said.

Officers found the car late on Friday, but the woman’s body was found 1.5km downstream only yesterday morning, police said.

Floodwaters were receding but officials said at least 1,000 people remained stranded in the region and in the neighboring state of New South Wales, which was also hit by a freak deluge on Tuesday night.

Several townships were declared disaster zones after the downpour hit towns around Coffs Harbour, about 570km north of Sydney.

The weather bureau said further storms were forecast for last night and into today, which could add to damage estimated at A$30 million (US$21 million).

“After all the rain we’ve had up there ... there is the possibility winds could put the trees over,” a spokesman said. “If a fairly strong front comes through then that could possibly cause storm damage as well as flood damage.”

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