Jesse Wickman, who drowned in Minden.
Jesse Wickman, who drowned in Minden. Contributed

How did Jesse die?

A SEPARATE inquest has been ordered into the death of four-year-old Minden boy Jesse Wickman during January's floods.

A coronial inquest into the deaths of 25 people in Queensland's summer floods will hear evidence from survival experts, police officers and suicide researchers this week, as State Coroner Michael Barnes seeks to determine what caused the deaths.

The court heard yesterday 22 people died in Toowoomba, the Lockyer Valley and Ipswich between January 10 and 17.

The bodies of another three people caught in flash flooding have never been found, but they too are presumed dead.

The inquiry was shown a video timeline and overview of the destruction, produced by the police taskforce responsible for investigating the deaths.

The video outlined where people were last seen clinging to objects, and showed where their bodies were later found.

The 25 victims are Sylvia Baillie, Robert Bromage, Llync-Chiann Clarke, Christopher Face, Jean Gurr, Garry and Joselyn Jibson, Jessica Keep, Robert Kelly, Pauline Magner, Bruce Marshall, Sandra and Steven Matthews, James Cole, Dawn Radke, Donna and Jordan Rice, Brenda and Joshua Ross, Katie and Selwyn Schefe, Reinskje Van der Werff, Bruce Warhurst, Van Giang and Jesse Wickman.

Three members of the Wickman family were rescued on January 11 at Minden, about 25km west of Ipswich, but Jesse was swept away during the rescue and his body was found about a kilometre downstream.

At a community event in Minden on January 22, Katie and Brian Wickman said they were evacuating their home with sons Jesse and seven-year-old Cody when tragedy struck.

Counsel assisting the coroner Peter Johns told the inquiry Jesse's death warranted a separate coronial hearing.

Mr Barnes agreed and adjourned the matter until February 27.

Mr Barnes will determine when and how the flood victims died and examine whether there has been an increase in suicides as a result of the floods.

The scope of the inquest has been reduced so it doesn't intrude on the terms of reference of the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry.

The commission, which delivered an interim report in August and will release its final recommendations in February, is investigating the adequacy of early-warning systems, emergency preparations and the response during and after the disaster. About 70% of the state flooded last summer, killing a total of 35 people.

The inquest continues.


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