A white van sits in Widgee Creek after it was washed from a bridge. Two occupants escaped but a third perished in raging flood waters.
A white van sits in Widgee Creek after it was washed from a bridge. Two occupants escaped but a third perished in raging flood waters. Contributed

Wheelchair-bound man drowns in floodwater of Widgee Creek

POLICE had last night not released the name of a 27-year-old wheelchair-bound local man who drowned in the floodwater of Widgee Creek on Sunday morning.

The man, who had cerebal palsy, had been with his parents about 3am on Sunday when they attempted to drive across the flooded crossing on Gympie Woolooga Rd, at Glastonbury.

Their vehicle became stuck in the raging floodwater and then swept downstream.

Swift water rescue crews from Gympie were deployed to try to rescue them.

Seven attempts were made; the first two boats capsized in the torrent and one boat lost all of its rescue gear.

A third boat was brought in from Maroochydore. It, too, overturned in the raging flood but its crew was able to right it.

Gympie police district officer in charge Snr Sgt Graeme Reeves described the rescue yesterday as a "major job" and a "very dangerous situation" for the rescue teams.

The father was eventually rescued an hour later, clinging to a tree 50m from the crossing.

The mother was rescued four hours after that, also clinging to a tree.

Both were recovering in Gympie Hospital yesterday.

The body of their son was found by a local resident about 6am yesterday, 300m from the crossing.

He is one of three to have died in the devastating fallout of ex-cyclone Oswald.

Gympie Times


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