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News / Nation & World

Wild weather leaves at least 10 dead in Australian states of Queensland and Victoria, officials say

By Associated Press
Published: December 27, 2023, 7:44am

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Wild weather has left at least 10 people dead in the eastern Australian states of Queensland and Victoria, officials said on Wednesday.

Three men, aged 48, 59 and 69, were killed after a boat with 11 people on board capsized in rough weather in Moreton Bay off the south Queensland coast on Tuesday, police said. Ambulances took eight survivors to a hospital in stable conditions.

The men were aboard the 39-foot pleasure craft on an annual fishing trip, The Courier Mail newspaper reported.

Queensland Police Acting Chief Superintendent Andrew Pilotto said those rescued were lucky to survive.

“The storm was still raging when they were rescued,” Pilotto said. “It would have been very difficult to survive in those conditions anywhere.”

Elsewhere, a 59-year-old woman was killed by a falling tree in the Queensland city of Gold Coast on Monday night. The body of a 9-year-old girl was found on Tuesday in the neighboring city of Brisbane hours after she disappeared in a flooded stormwater drain.

The bodies of a 40-year-old woman and a 46-year-old woman were found in the Mary River in the Queensland town of Gympie. They were among three women swept into the flooded river through a stormwater drain on Tuesday. Another 46-year-old woman managed to save herself.

Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll blamed “extraordinarily difficult weather” for the tragedies.

“It has been a very tragic 24 hours due to the weather,” Carroll told reporters.

Severe weather has lashed parts of southeast Australia since Monday including Queensland and Victoria.

A woman, who is yet to be identified, was found dead late Tuesday after flash flooding receded at a campground in Buchan in regional Victoria. The body of an unidentified man, who had been camping with the woman, was found late Wednesday, police said.

Also on Tuesday, a 44-year-old man was killed by a falling branch on his rural property in Caringal in eastern Victoria.

Thunderstorms and strong winds have brought down more than 1,000 power lines in parts of Queensland and left 85,000 people without electricity.