News

Iconic flood footage thrust back into limelight

The unidentified man lets air from his tyres before driving his car away.
The unidentified man lets air from his tyres before driving his car away.

FLOODWATERS were rising around him, pushing cars like toys down East Ck and he did the unthinkable.

A man, as yet unidentified, rushed to let air out of his 4WD tyres so he could drive it away to safety.

Now that footage, often listed as among the most iconic of the 2011 floods, is being featured in a United States television show.

The Weather Channel posted a snippet of its show "Weather Gone Viral".

The preview has been viewed more than 414,000 times.

"A flash flood rushes towards a parking lot where one man attempts to save his car," the Weather Channel wrote.

"Follow all the action on the season two premiere of Weather Gone Viral this Sunday!"

A presenter says: "If you've had years of drought, that ground may be just like concrete, so you have extra runoff".

Another says: "As cars are being swept away, one man tries to save his SUV".

"This is obviously something never to do, that water is moving really quickly and six inches of moving water is enough to knock you off your feet.

"The river becomes a monster, taking away nearly every car in the parking lot. And there's nothing you can do about it."

Helen Chapman recognised the footage straightaway, writing: "Yes! This is my hometown. Toowoomba, Australia. January 10, 2011."

"I don't even have to look it up. That is how etched this day is into everyone's minds. People still talk about it now. "Where were you when the flood hit?".

Ms Chapman said the strangest thing was that Toowoomba was nowhere near the ocean.

"There are no major rivers close by. Just two little creeks fed by a spring.

"Plus, the town is up in the mountains. It had rained for a month straight prior to this.

"The ground was so waterlogged. And then on January 10, 2011, an intense rainstorm came in. And stopped right over the top of Toowoomba. It absolutely pelted.

"And the underground spring and watertable just couldn't take it any more. This water in this picture killed a mother and her son two kilometres upstream. East and West creeks met and smashed through the centre of town, taking out all the bridges on the way.

"The water went down into Murphys Creek, a small community outside of town, and from there crashed down into the next little town, Grantham. Grantham was completely destroyed.

"The death toll from that day is officially I think around 20 from our area, but unofficially I've heard, its much higher.

"There are still people missing from that day. Toowoomba was cut off from the rest of the country for almost two weeks. The only way in or out was via helicopter. It was so eerie.

"Toowoomba is the largest inland city in Australia, and a major highway out west. And there was no traffic at all. No trucks as all the highways up and down the mountains had been washed away. Only rescue and army helicopters flying looking for survivors.

"Toowoomba has repaired most of the damage. They are still working on parts of the creek near the railway bridge. The majority of Grantham has been relocated.

"Yep, they shifted a whole town. When you drive through Grantham now and see the markers where the water got up to, you just can't even comprehend it. There are flood memorials now in both towns, and still flowers at the intersection where the mother and her boy were swept away. Donna Rice was her name."

She advised people to "Google" Toowoomba floods or Grantham floods for more footage and pictures.

Topics:  editors picks flood toowoomba


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Hemp fan reaps what he sows

Stall assistant Bubaloo Fahy at the Hemp Foods Australia stall at Mullumbimby Farmers' Market. PHOTO: KATE O'NEILL

Businessman and campaigner celebrates legalisation of hemp as food

Chance to clean up for dragons

Ballina-on-Richmond Rotarian Col Lee with the washing machines and dryers for sale.

Whitegoods the key to fundraising drive

Matthias transported at age 13

Matthias Isaac Lewis in his later years. He drowned, aged 69, in 1885. PHOTO: ANCESTRY.COM

Convict made the most of his new life in Australia

Local Partners

Refugee 'unfairly' sacked from Byron Bay Superfoods

Fair Work Commission labels company "vindictive" after Sudanese Civil war victim sacked for complaining about being underpaid.

Chicago comes to Bangalow

CELL BLOCK TANGO: Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones in a scene from the 2002 film Chicago.

The next production by Bangalow Theatre Company

A ballet event of lovers and fairies in Byron Bay

ON STAGE: Byron Ballet's 10th anniversary production will be Shakespeare's A Midnight Summer's Dream.

Byron Ballet celebrates 10 years

What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor split after 17 years

BEN Stiller and his wife Christine Taylor have called it a day in a joint announcement.

Why The Voice hasn't produced a star

Boy George responds to Brittania Clifford-Pugh's heart-warming message.

It's the industry, not the show, says Boy George

These actors hated their movies and didn’t mind admitting it

Channing Tatum and Marlon Wayans in a scene from GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

Every year, Hollywood blesses us with plenty of God awful movies.

Miranda Kerr and fiance hang up backyard tent for wedding

The decorators and caterers are arriving for the final preparations for the wedding of Miranda Kerr and Evan Spiegel. Pictures: Splash

Evan Spiegel and Miranda Kerr are set to marry today

Book review: Mia Freedman's book meets her critics head on

I appreciated Freedman's blunt honesty in the book

Chicago comes to Bangalow

CELL BLOCK TANGO: Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones in a scene from the 2002 film Chicago.

The next production by Bangalow Theatre Company

Man's amazing comeback from monster crisis

Pat O'Driscoll agents Penny Keating and Doug Webber sold 56 Agnes St, The Range at auction over the weekend.

NOT long ago, he sold his possessions to pay staff. Now he's back.

Here's your chance to carp about feral pests

Carp might by great fun to catch but they're destroying Australia's watercourses.

Science in the Pub looks at carp and coral trees

SNEAK PEEK: What new shopping centre is going to look like

Artist impression of the proposed redevelopment of the cinema and shopping complex on Jonson St, Byron Bay.

Mercato billed as regional NSW's most sustainable shopping complex

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

Slaves in Byron: The dark side of housing crisis

Housing generic.

A darker side to Byron's economy

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!