Family bowled over by terrifying flood
THE Sharkey family escaped with their lives on Sunday morning - but only just - and with nothing else.
The terrifying wall of water that swept through their Lower Wonga property was like an inland tsunami that hurled the blood, sweat and tears of their lives across a kilometre of flood-flattened country, completely destroying their house, shed, granny flat and two vehicles.
Ian and Maureen Sharkey and their 16-year-old son Bryce had to run and then drive for their lives shortly after 5.30am as the floodwater from Widgee Creek started rising at a centimetre a minute.
Little did they know it, but the creek, which borders their 4ha Harch Rd property, had already claimed one life that morning.
The Sharkeys had been watching it all night and decided at 3.30am to play it safe and get out, driving up the hill and parking for a couple of hours.
They returned when it seemed safe to them but no sooner were they back in the house than the water started rising fast.
"We were only there 10 minutes and I said 'we need to get out of here'," a shattered Maureen said yesterday.
By the time they got themselves in their 4WD, the water was as high as the tyres.
They reversed out the driveway as fast as they could and kept reversing straight up the hill outside their front gate.
From there they sat and watched as their home of 10 years was ripped apart, the water reaching the roof.
Their 10,000-gallon concrete tank was picked up and wedged between two trees.
A similar-sized poly tank now sits high in a tree far from the house, and the fridge can been seen in the distance on a neighbour's block.
What remained of the house four hours after the Sharkeys left was little more than a shell.
A besser-block shed and granny flat were leveled, and all but two of the six chooks the Sharkeys thought would be safe in the shed were gone.
The two survivors were found several hundred metres downstream.
They are already back on the lay, but it will take much, much longer for the Sharkeys to recover from this.
They are in shock, tearful and traumatised. They could never rebuild on that land, they say. They would live in fear for their lives.
Kind-hearted neighbours have taken them in and given them what they can, but the Sharkeys have no idea what is to become of them.
They are insured, but assessors have yet to make even a preliminary inspection.
Their furniture and worldly goods are spread out over 4ha and beyond, but in a matter of 30 minutes yesterday Bryce was able to dig up several pieces of jewellery buried in the mud outside the house.
At the end, Bryce found the signet ring his grandparents had given his father. When he put it in Ian's hands, Ian broke down and cried.
If you can help the Sharkey family, a Sharkey Family Flood Appeal has been set up by their neighbours with Wide Bay Australia.
To make a donation, the BSB number is 645646 and the account number 105974498.