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Stranded driver crosses the line

Rescuers resorted to using a front-end loader to free a woman trapped in her car on the Bedford Weir causeway crossing on Saturday.
Rescuers resorted to using a front-end loader to free a woman trapped in her car on the Bedford Weir causeway crossing on Saturday.

A BOULDERCOMBE woman who ignored road closed signs and found herself in danger of being swept off the Bedford Weir causeway crossing was dramatically rescued on Saturday.

The 58-year-old sat with her foot firmly on the brakes of her Hyundai all-wheel drive, wedged against a rock after the vehicle was forced off the submerged road surface by Mackenzie River floodwaters.

The Capricorn Helicopter Rescue chopper ferried out QFRS swiftwater rescue officers from Rockhampton, but a winch rescue was ruled out as too dangerous.

Instead, a 20-tonne front-end loader was brought in from a nearby quarry and lodged against the vehicle while the woman was freed.

“I have no doubt if the car had made it to the fast-flowing water it would have been swept away,” Blackwater officer-in-charge Sergeant Chris Clague said.

“I am told people have been crossing the weir for several days now which just goes to show you how stupid some people are.

“In Queensland this year there have been so many rescues of this nature due to the flooding and yet we are still in a situation where emergency services’ lives are placed at risk to save people from their own stupidity.

“The Bedford Weir is closed. There are signs on both sides advising motorists of this and police will charge anyone seen crossing the weir while it is still closed.

Tom Wood, from the Blackwater SES, said motorists needed to be aware of the alternate route through Rileys Crossing.

“It’s longer but I’d rather go that way than through the water,” he said.

Another emergency services worker who has seen the weir claim dozens of victims over the years, told CQ News they were concerned at the Isaac council’s lack of action to blockade the northern approach.

“Prevention is far easier in this situation and we don’t seem to be addressing the problem,” he said.

“The Isaac council doesn’t seem to care about the problem we have, and we have highlighted it to them as a matter of urgency why we need a bigger bridge or a traffic stopper because it is only a matter of time before we have a fatality.

“People need to be protected from themselves with a proper roadblock or hard barrier.”


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