FORGET IT: Flooding on Beerwah along Steve Irwin Way on Friday. Five people lost their lives.
FORGET IT: Flooding on Beerwah along Steve Irwin Way on Friday. Five people lost their lives. Jason Dougherty

SES threatened by angry drivers during flood chaos

AS Rob Barry stood at a set of Beerwah traffic lights on Friday, he knew this was no ordinary flood.

In his 28 years with the State Emergency Service, the Glasshouse group leader said he had never had to redirect traffic, which was normally the job of police.

A car had been swept off a Beerwah road, and it was "all hands on deck" he said.

Thankfully, the occupants of that vehicle were found safe soon after.

But it was late afternoon, and the chaos had only just begun.

Mr Barry said flood waters had never risen as fast or as high as they did on Friday.
 

Flooding Beerwwah intersection of Kilcoy--Beerwah Road and Old Gymie Road
Photo: Danielle Gibbons
Flooding Beerwwah intersection of Kilcoy--Beerwah Road and Old Gymie Road Photo: Danielle Gibbons

The water was "at least two metres higher" than he had ever seen it before, and it rose so quickly that even SES volunteers were stranded.

"We had calls for help but we couldn't get sand bags or anything to anybody else, because we couldn't get out from where we were. We've never experienced that before," he said.

The 62-year-old said he was stationed on the Beerwah to Kilcoy Rd intersection with Old Gympie Rd from late afternoon until midnight, stopping people from driving in floodwaters.

"Creeks behind us were closed, creeks in front of us were closed."

The experienced SES worker said he was dismayed at the number of people who sincerely wanted to cross the dangerous floodwaters.
 

Flooding occurred across the Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay regions.
Flooding occurred across the Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay regions. Marjin Van de Wan-Miltenburg

"Some people have come through road closed signs to get to there, thinking they can get through," he said.

"Because they drive a 4x4 they believe they're bullet proof and they'll be able to go through anything. It's hard to explain to them that it's not the case at all.

"The force of the water is just tremendous. Once it gets up to your doors, the force of your water is really strong," he said. "In the middle of those waters, it's phenomenal."

Mr Barry said it was frustrating SES workers copped a lot of abuse while trying to stop people getting hurt.

"You get threatened to get punched out," he said. "You just put on a brave face, because you know we can't stop them. We're not police."


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