Hovercraft on council's flood wish list
GYMPIE region families isolated and running out of food or medicine in the next big flood might find themselves climbing aboard a hovercraft and blazing a trail for the rest of the state.
In a Queensland first, Gympie Regional Council is attempting to get State funding to buy one or more hovercrafts so emergency services can reach stranded residents in the most far flung parts of the region.
The council's local disaster co-ordinator, Ron Potter, has the support of Mayor Ron Dyne and Acting Mayor Tony Perrett in exploring the possibility after it was raised at the recent Get Ready forum in Gympie.
Mr Potter said yesterday the cost of a hovercraft was the same as a flood boat, but that it would be able to access far more places, crossing multiple flooded waterways and the land in between.
"Flood boats can only get from one side of a creek to the other," he said. "If you have to cross several creeks to get to a property they are no good." Getting a helicopter in to those properties is expensive, dangerous and often not possible.
Viper rescue hovercrafts are already widely used in northern Australia and south-east Asia, but Gympie would be the first Queensland council to make the move. A number of other councils are closely watching how Gympie goes in its quest.