The rain keeps coming: Dramatic sea rescue in sodden FNQ

A monsoon trough over the Cape York Peninsula is due to expand into the Coral Sea on Sunday.

A monsoon trough over the Cape York Peninsula is due to expand into the Coral Sea on Sunday. Photo: AAP

Seven seafarers are lucky to be alive after their boat capsized in rough seas as monsoonal weather brings flooding to rivers across Queensland.

Heavy rain persists across the state’s drenched far north as towns near the Victorian-NSW border face their own flooding concerns.

A monsoon trough over the Cape York Peninsula is expected to expand into the Coral Sea, persisting for several days.

Some western parts of the peninsula have already received 150mm to 200mm, while more than 110mm fell over the outskirts of Cairns in the 24hrs to 9am on Sunday.

Rough seas caused a seven-metre vessel on a surfing trip to Lady Elliot Island to overturn about 65km northeast of Bundaberg.

A Bundaberg LifeFlight rescue helicopter located the boat’s seven occupants clinging to the hull after their emergency beacon activated about 5pm on Saturday.

The helicopter crew deployed a life raft to assist the stranded mariners until a Volunteer Marine Rescue unit picked them up about 7.30pm.

Meanwhile, heavy rains further south in recent days have caused the Paroo River to swell.

The Bureau of Meteorology imposed a major flood warning at Eulo with a peak around 4m possible overnight Sunday and into Monday morning, although no further significant rain is forecast over the next few days.

As the clean-up continues in the area struck by ex-Tropical Cyclone Jasper in December, Queensland Premier Steven Miles said first responders had been rotated to manage fatigue between disasters.

“If and when the next one strikes, and we know in Queensland the next disaster is always just around the corner, we have to make sure they’re ready,” he said.

Showers and thunderstorms with locally heavy falls are likely to continue on the peninsula until late Sunday into Monday, at which point rainfall could begin to become more widespread, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

It coincides with abnormally high tides which have caused some minor flooding in Cairns streets.

Roads closed

Areas north of Cairns have also lost road access after landslips and rockfalls while the entire Douglas Shire, covering the Daintree, is subject to severe water restrictions due to damage to the mains supply.

At the other end of the country, the Murray River towns of Tocumwal and Barham are on alert for flooding after substantial rainfall that fell over the Campasie and Goulburn River catchments reached the border river.

Minor flooding is possible at Torrumbarry Weir and Barham in coming days, the Bureau of Meteorology warns.

River levels at Echuca are likely to remain below was is classified as “minor flood level” – welcome relief for those who experienced devastating inundations in November 2022.


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