The search and recovery operation coordinated by the Queensland Police Service was the biggest ever conducted in their history.
The search and recovery operation coordinated by the Queensland Police Service was the biggest ever conducted in their history. BEV LACEY

Velocity of water hampered recovery

THE ferocity of the water that struck the Lockyer Valley on January 10 has been described in the official police report as "extreme".

The report states: "The Lockyer Valley was 'struck' by a flash flood travelling at somewhere between 3000 and 4000 cubic metres of water per second, flowing out of bank and changing the watercourse, demolishing bridges and houses in its path.

"The estimated peak flow at Grantham was estimated at travelling at somewhere between 3500 and 4000 cubic metres of water per second."

The report says that such was the velocity of the water that tore through the Lockyer Valley, that it certainly hampered the search for the missing and ensuing recovery of bodies.

"In the case of Selwyn Schefe, of Murphys Creek, his body was located on January 22 in a lake which had formed near Tarampa. This is in excess of 49 kilometres from where he was last seen.

"In the case of Jessica Keep, of Grantham, her body was located on January 23 on the banks of the Lockyer Creek at Mt Tarampa. This is in excess of 35 kilometres from the family home."

The report also revealed the specific details of the search and recovery processes in the following days and included:

  • The foot search covered an estimated 663 square kilometres.
  • 131 kilometres of creek line were searched on three separate occasions.
  • More than 200 Australian Defence Force personnel were deployed in conjunction with more than 220 Queensland police personnel
  • Cadaver dogs were used to search debris piles, some measuring more than 2000 square metres, and unsafe buildings.

The report says "the search and recovery operation co-ordinated by the Queensland Police Service in response to the devastating flood events within the Lockyer Valley has been one of, if not the most exhaustive, in Queensland Police Service history."


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