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Toowoomba & Lockyer Tsunami

Thank you to all the friends here and overseas enquiring about our wellbeing. No harm has come to our home or my surgery – but so many unspeakably sad stories from friends of friends.

Just a block down the street from work is the low point of the town ‘valley’, and the mass of water on Monday 10th came more like a wave than a rising flood. I waited at the scene of this fast-water rescue because there was no ambulance able to reach the scene – not that I could have done much unless one of the men had washed up at my feet needing CPR.

Magnificent strength and courage of the rescuer, who at one stage went under the 2m standing wave, trying to force his way out to the trapped man – big cheers when he got there. If you look closely in the video at the white van crashing into one tree – which it knocks over – and then ramming into the next tree – which it does not knock over – you will see the man clinging to that second tree.

What a moment for him – but he was duly rescued. What really hits home is the thought of those other terrifying and desperate moments for less fortunate people in our town, including children and parents being separated. Just further along the street a mother and son were washed away in their car and drowned after the older son urged rescuers to take his younger brother first. (Even the New York papers are covering this saddest of moments in Toowoomba). Other terrible tales from patients with friends who live down the range – one bloke swimming through a neighbour’s house on Murphy’s Creek to pull a neighbour in a wheelchair out.  Nearby to a favourite place we take visitors for coffee, the quaint Spring Bluff railway station, a much-loved local pastor was lost, along with his wife, after getting his two children up into the attic of their home. It just breaks your heart.

A colleague of mine was stuck on the highway from Brisbane that day for 10 hours, and watched the surge come past – says it was metres deep, like a tsunami. Another couple were in a picnic park by the highway where he was and were not quick enough to start the car and get up onto the highway, so were washed away. 

Here are images of the devastation in that area down below the Toowoomba range, the Lockyer valley. And here some more images of the Toowoomba disaster.

There will be many more loved ones found and grieved for in the days to come, and we still do not know if one of our own friends is safe in Withcott.

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