Five dead as Cyclone Debbie's floodwaters peak
FIVE people were dead as of last night as rivers peaked at historic levels, inundating homes and isolating rural properties as the aftermath of ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie continues to punish the south east.
Nelson Raebel, 77, became Queensland's first flood-related casualty after police found his body a day after he had gone missing near Eagleby Rd, south of Brisbane.
A 45-year-old man was found dead at a caravan park, on Tweed Valley Way, South Murwillumbah at 1.30pm yesterday.
"The water busted the door open and dad started to have a panic attack. He fell down and it sounded like he was snoring, but he stopped breathing," his son Justin said.
The deaths come after two women were found dead in northern NSW on Friday, including 64-year-old Jan Baihn whose Land Cruiser became stuck in flood waters while her and husband Bob were driving through a causeway that leads to their Hunter Valley home.
The toll could rise with more than 300 homes inundated with water yesterday when the Albert and Logan rivers hit levels higher than the 1974 floods.
The Logan River swallowed sagging powerlines and more than 5000 homes remained without power last night.
Mayor Luke Smith said Logan City was now in a state of natural disaster and the impact was not yet known.
"The city of Logan is struggling to understand the extent of what the damage will be over the next 24 hours as the Logan River recedes," he said.
Logan Hospital was accessible only by the motorway after flood waters cut off the main entrance.
Nervous residents living on the bank of the Logan River continued to sandbag their homes into the afternoon.
Kudzai Mudimu raced to protect his in-laws home as water lapped at their back step.
His young neighbours next door could only watch as the river swallowed their volleyball court and threatened to inundate their home.
Across the bridge John Power and his family could no longer leave through their front gate.
"We've been here 19 years, and this is the worst I've ever seen," he said. "
All the neighbours are worried about us because we're the lowest house."
To the ire of authorities, some locals ignored warnings and waded into the impromptu lakes. Jet skis, canoes and inflatable pool toys were used by locals along flooded roads and a dangerously raging river filled with raw sewage.
The mega clean-up in Logan City will commence once the waters finally recede, although that could take days.
Cr Smith praised the community for their eagerness to help, advising residents to apply with Volunteers Queensland.
"The most important message I can give is look out for your neighbour, support each other and be aware that there are people around who are lonely and people who are on their own," Mr Smith said.