Tinnie Army hailed as heroes after FNQ flood rescues

Hundreds of people in far north Queensland have been rescued by boat after being isolated by floods.

Hundreds of people in far north Queensland have been rescued by boat after being isolated by floods. Photo: Department of Defence/AAP

They call them the Tinnie Army. Some are popular locals. Another is a mystery man known only as “Magoo”.

All of them are heroes, Queensland Deputy Premier Cameron Dick says.

People were forced to flee their homes and seek shelter on rooftops after Tropical Cyclone Jasper caused record rainfall and flooding in far north Queensland.

Road closures ensured emergency services and even the Australian Defence Force couldn’t reach them.

Enter the Tinnie Army.

Armed with boats, jet skis and even a mustering helicopter, they assembled to rescue flood-hit locals.

Some of the people saved were friends.

Popular Gulf of Carpentaria singer Gavin Dear found one of his mates huddled in a tree when he jumped in his dinghy to save people marooned at the Lion’s Den Hotel, near Cooktown.

Another 16 people stuck on the hotel’s roof were rescued by man known simply as “Magoo”.

Braving the elements to swoop in, the mystery man picked up the stranded locals one at a time in a mustering helicopter that could seat just one passenger.

“He made 16 trips and landed on that roof in the p—ing rain, where no other chopper pilot would fly,” Dear told ABC.

More stories of heroics have emerged with 35 communities isolated by flood waters throughout the far north.

One local used a fishing boat to save eight people at Wujal Wujal before the Aboriginal community was evacuated by the ADF Chinook helicopters.

At one stage boaties worked side by side with emergency services and the navy as a remarkable 300 rescues were pulled off north of Cairns amid flash flooding.

“We have seen ordinary Queenslanders do extraordinary things during this natural disaster,” Dick said.

“We’ve seen many local heroes who have reached out to help their fellow Queenslanders.

“I think that speaks to the character of Queenslanders and to the Queensland spirit.”

Federal Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt saw it first hand when he visited the devastated Holloways Beach region north of Cairns.

“I ran into a bloke called Roscoe, I don’t actually know what his real name is,” he said.

“He took in 10 neighbours and their pets, dogs, birds all sorts of other things to give them some emergency housing when they needed it.

“They are the kind of examples we are seeing right across this community and I know it is that community spirit that will see far north Queensland through.”

Queensland Premier Steven Miles reckoned the brave locals who helped this week should be called the Tinnie Army from now on.

“They’re heroes. That’s the first time I have heard them called the Tinnie Army but that’s a great term, very Queensland,” he told ABC Radio.

“No doubt there’s going to be a lot of medals to hand out at the end of this.”

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