Rainbow Beach Towing recover camper trailer from Inskip Point
Rainbow Beach Towing recover camper trailer from Inskip Point Greg Miller

Sinkhole cleanup begins

Rainbow Beach Towing owners Dave and Caroline Elder said it wasn't a simple procedure pulling out the camper trailer, and at the start it was touch and go. However, once the operation got under way, it was fairly smooth.

"All in a day's work," Mr Elder said.

The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service said recovery and dive specialists were onsite at 9am yesterday to inspect the vehicles and formulate recovery plans.

"Wolf Rock Dive" inspections yesterday confirmed only a small amount of the caravan could be seen above the underwater sand bed and there was no sign of the four-wheel drive vehicle.

Divers described the hole as "bottomless" in some places and compared to mine sites, much bigger than other sinkholes they had seen in the area.

It was also "scary" as they were dealing with an underwater forest and a lot of debris. They had to use special breathing apparatus to ensure if divers were trapped, they could still get air.

Some tents also fell into what most people are calling a sinkhole, after the landslide happened at about 10.30pm on Saturday.

Further monitoring by QPWS yesterday showed that as expected, about one metre of bank was lost overnight, with some small trees falling into the water.

Erosion could continue to occur slowly for some weeks.

For public safety, the MV Beagle camp ground and eastern section of Sarawak campground remain closed, with barriers extending out to 200 metres.

MV Natone, SS Dorrigo and The Oaks campgrounds remain open, as does access to the barge via Inskip Pt Rd.

The landslide led to the evacuation of 300 people, with everyone accounted for and no injuries reported.

The resulting hole is some 208 metres long, 50 metres wide and up to nine metres deep at its deepest point.

QPWS continues to urge people to avoid the area, and to observe traffic barriers and warning signs.

Campers who have booked for campsites that have been closed can phone 13 QGOV (13 74 68) to discuss alternative arrangements with QPWS.

Refunds will be offered to those who wish to cancel their booking.

QPWS has increased camp site numbers at nearby campgrounds in preparation for demand with coming long weekend.

Gympie Times


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