Nine Dead after Storms Batter Eastern Australia

Wed Dec 27 2023
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SYDNEY: On Wednesday, rescue teams scoured the eastern seaboard of Australia in search of survivors following the tragic loss of nine lives due to severe storms, one of whom was a 40-year-old woman pulled into a stormwater drain.

In recent days, Victoria and Queensland in Australia have been relentlessly battered by thunderstorms and destructive winds, resulting in boat capsizes, flash floods, and the toppling of concrete powerlines.

The government’s weather bureau has issued warnings, emphasizing the ongoing risk of perilous storms, life-threatening floods, enormous hail, and damaging winds in Queensland’s coastal regions.

Tragedy struck in Gympie, a rural town north of Brisbane, when floodwaters surged, sweeping three women into a stormwater drain. Sadly, one woman, aged 40, lost her life, while emergency services hold grave concerns for the 46-year-old who remains missing.

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Swift-water rescue teams, as confirmed by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services deputy commissioner Kevin Walsh, persist in their search efforts throughout the affected area.

Further distress unfolded at sea near Brisbane as a boat capsized, plunging eleven individuals into the ocean. Police reported two casualties, eight survivors hospitalized, and an ongoing search for a missing crew member.

Expressing the grim impact of the weather, police commissioner Katarina Carroll acknowledged the past 24 hours as particularly tragic.

Amidst these unfortunate events, a nine-year-old girl was discovered deceased after disappearing in floodwaters on Brisbane’s outskirts, while a 59-year-old woman succumbed to a falling tree on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

Energex, the utility company, remains in a race against time to reinstate electricity to over 80,000 homes across the state.

“How strong were those storms? Enough to snap multiple concrete poles supporting high-voltage lines,” it posted on social media.

In Victoria, amidst flash floods inundating a regional campground in Buchan, located 350 kilometers (217 miles) east of Melbourne, a woman was discovered deceased late on Tuesday evening. Meanwhile, in Caringal, 180 kilometers (111 miles) east of Melbourne, a man lost his life when struck by a falling tree branch.

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