Kids trapped at school camp as floodwaters rise

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services has warned floodwater could impact homes around Ingham and Halifax. Photo: QFES / Twitter. Courtesy: Brisbane times

Highways have been cut and school students stranded as floodwaters inundated north and far north Queensland. 

Near Tully, 72 year 6 students are being cared for by eight staff and a parent after they were flooded in at Echo Creek Adventure Camp. 

Education Minister Grace Grace said every effort was being made to comfort The Willows Primary School students.

“The camp is safe and the students, eight staff and a parent there have food and shelter. Police are currently working to resupply them with food and other necessities,” she said.

Police assured the trapped students and adults they would be moved on as soon as it was safe to do so.

Flood waters were expected to recede over the next 48 hours.

The heavy rain and flooding have also led to the closure of at least 13 schools and the Paluma Environmental Education Centre on Friday.

The town of Ingham has also been cut off after flood waters forced the closure of the Bruce Highway. 

RACQ spokeswoman Lauren Ritchie there was significant flooding across a lot of local roads around the Ingham area.

“Anywhere north of Townsville is seeing a lot of rain and has had over the last week or so and that’s now flowing through to the rivers and then onto our road network.

“The town of Ingham has been cut off, the Bruce Highway is closed both north and south, this could be closed for quite some time with continued rainfall predicted.”

Ms Ritchie said if residents were on the road or ordered to evacuate motorists should check the road conditions before hitting the road.

“We’re talking about only necessary travel here,” she said.

“The message to motorists is if you see road closure signage and the road looks open, it is still closed for a reason.

“The only people authorised to open roads are the authorities, so that’s police and the department of transport and main roads.”

Overnight on Thursday, two swift-water rescue crews were deployed to in the Ingham area. 

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services minister Craig Crawford said the crews had been deployed on Thursday as the flood levels were likely to reach 2009 level by Friday morning.

“QFES crews are working closely with local councils and other response agencies. As heavy rain is still falling, the situation may change so residents are urged to monitor conditions and check the BoM website for flood updates,” he said.

“Parts of Ingham and the surrounding areas may become isolated or inundated, so residents are urged to ensure their emergency kits are ready and that they have sufficient food, water, medication and infant supplies available.

“Residents who expect to be inundated are urged to move items to higher ground.”

The swift water rescue crews were also on standby to assist in emergencies in Mount Isa, Cloncurry and Julia Creek.

Residents in Halifax and Ingham have been advised by Police to expect flood waters to continue to rise.