Girl missing for five days in Qld floods

Marty Silk |

Victorian teenager Krystal Cain has been missing for five days after flooding in southeast Queensland that killed two men and inundated dozens of homes and businesses.

Police hold “grave concerns” for the 14-year-old who disappeared when the car she and her father were travelling in was swamped by floodwaters near the Burnett Highway at Booubyjan, in the Gympie region, in the early hours of Saturday.

The search for the teenager, involving helicopters, boats, trail bikes, 4WD vehicles and even people on horseback, entered its fifth day on Wednesday.

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

Bauple farmer Steve Bottcher, 52, and a 22-year-old Sunshine Coast man have already been killed in the floods that came after ex-cyclone Seth dumped more than half a metre of rain on the Wide Bay Burnett region.

The father-of-five, his wife and his eight-year-old daughter were out in a boat looking for stock on their property when it capsized on Monday night.

The 43-year-old woman and the girl managed to cling on to a nearby tree for almost 12 hours, suffering hypothermia, but Mr Bottcher’s body was later found about 300m from where the boat capsized.

Haelee Faithfull, a family friend, has set up a GoFundMe page to help the 52-year-old’s family pay for his funeral costs.

“Steve was a very fun loving man who was always up for a yarn and some coldies,” Ms Faithfull wrote.

“It’s such a sad loss for his family and friends and our community. Steve sadly leaves behind his beloved partner Carmen, his 8 year old daughter and his 4 adult children.”

The Wide Bay Burnett region is still experiencing widespread flooding, particularly along the Mary River, where people remain cut off by waters.

A helicopter winched a man, woman, girl and four dogs from their North Burnett home after they started running out of food and fuel on Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s believed the recent floods had risen around their North Burnett property, taking out the roads and isolating the family,” LifeFlight said in a statement.

Meanwhile, financial assistance is now available for residents affected by flooding 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 is due to arrive in Maryborough on Wednesday.

Ms Palaszczuk said on Tuesday former Queensland governor Paul de Jersey had been appointed to lead the recovery and reconstruction effort.

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.