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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


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