SYDNEY (Reuters) – A 10-year old boy and his father were rescued by helicopter from a car marooned in flooded bushland, after three friends who had been accompanying them walked 50 km (31 miles) through Australia’s remote Outback to get help.
The group of four adults and the boy were driving west of Mount Isa in north-west Queensland, a 24 hour drive from Brisbane, the state capital, when their vehicle became bogged down in floodwater on Sunday evening, rescuers said.
After spending the night together in the “ute”, the local term for a sport-utility vehicle, three trekked for about 12 hours to a police station at Mount Isa to raise the alarm at around 6 pm on Monday.
The father and son were rescued a short while later. Finding them had been relatively easy, helicopter pilot Russell Procter said, as their companions “were able to pinpoint the location of the car within 100 metres”.
Australia’s summer is being dominated by the La Nina phenomenon, typically associated with greater rainfall and more tropical cyclones – a sharp contrast to the massive bushfires that razed the country last summer.
“North Queensland is a very large are and very inhospitable at the best of times, and with the floodwaters … it makes it very difficult to get around,” said Procter.
A separate couple of travelers were also rescued with the helicopter on Tuesday after getting stuck in a flooded road at a different location in the state, Procter added. None of the rescued were injured.
(Reporting by Paulina Duran in Sydney; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)