Second Australian Man Dies in Queensland Floods

Australian Associated Press is an Australian news agency.
January 11, 2022Updated: January 11, 2022

An eight-year-old girl has spent the night clinging to a tree with her step mum after raging floodwaters in southeast Queensland claimed the life of her father.

The body of the girl’s 52-year-old dad—identified as Steve Bottcher of Bauple—was on Tuesday found at a property near Tiaro south of Gympie.

He is the second confirmed death from floods caused by remnants of Cyclone Seth dumping torrential rain on the region.

Police said it was “remarkable” the girl and 43-year-old woman were able to survive after their small boat overturned on Monday night.

Superintendent Michael Sawrey said the three family members got in a tinnie at about 6 p.m. on Monday to check on their property before tragedy struck.

He said the father has swept away when the boat capsized but the daughter and step mum were able to grab a tree.

“Given the ferocity of the water it is remarkable for them to cling on somehow for all that time,” he said.

The pair were located and taken to hospital suffering hypothermia when witnesses heard their screams and emergency services were called out to the property almost 12 hours after the boat had overturned, at about 5.30 a.m.

The man’s body was later found almost 300m from where the boat had capsized.

Bottcher’s family paid tribute to the 52-year-old on social media.

“Message from the Bottcher family … Jenny, Christine, Bradley and myself have lost our beautiful brother Steve Bottcher … in the Mary River, Tiaro last night. RIP Steve we love you with all our heart – Leanne Robertson”, a post on Facebook group Beautiful Bauple said.

Superintendent Sawrey hailed the “magnificent job” done by emergency services but said the family had no business being in the water.

“Unfortunately we’ve had a number of tragedies through this and we just plead to people: stay away from floodwaters,” he said.

The body of a 22-year-old was found in a submerged ute on Saturday, while police hold “grave fears” for a 14-year-old girl who has been missing for three days.

Krystal Cain was last seen by her father after they abandoned their flooded car near the Burnett Highway at Booubyjan on Saturday morning.

Emergency services and volunteers have been searching on boats, trail bikes, 4WD vehicles and even on horseback for the teenager.

“We have grave fears, but we still hold hope of finding this young lady,” Sawrey said.

Meanwhile, financial assistance is now available for residents affected by flooding in 13 areas in the Fraser Coast and Gympie regions, including Maryborough which was visited by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Tuesday.

Up to $180 per person and a maximum of $900 for a family of five or more will be available through state and federal funding.

Low-interest loans of up $250,000 will also be available for primary producers and small businesses impacted by the floods.

National Recovery and Resilience Agency’s Shane Stone will arrive in Maryborough on Wednesday.

Palaszczuk said on Tuesday former Queensland Governor Paul de Jersey had been appointed to lead the area’s recovery.

She said 30 homes and 50 businesses have been damaged by floodwaters in Maryborough alone after about 650mm of rain fell in less than 24 hours.

A broken valve in the stormwater drain system allowed floodwater to surge through when the Mary River peaked just short of 10m on Monday night.

Police revoked an emergency declaration for Maryborough on Tuesday, but roads remain closed.