News Queensland Searchers cling to hope swept-away Townsville man somehow survived Queensland torrent
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Searchers cling to hope swept-away Townsville man somehow survived Queensland torrent

The raging torrents of the Townsville floods tipped over this train as if it were no more than a child's toy. Photo: Salvation Army
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Police have not given up hope a man missing in the north Queensland floods will be found alive.

The 35-year-old Townsville man was one of three on board a boat at Groper Creek when it crashed into a submerged jetty  about 5.35pm on Friday.

Two men were thrown into the water, while the third was pulled to safety.

Of the pair who went overboard, one went under and was not seen again, while the other swam to safety. He  was treated for facial injuries and possible spinal injuries.

The Groper Creek jetty is a hazard hidden just beneath the surface. Photo: Facebook

Water police, swift water rescue crews, a helicopter and other local vessels resumed the search on Saturday but have so far failed to locate the missing man.

Police said the murky floodwaters made the search difficult but that authorities were not giving up hope.

A little sunshine

Rainfall in the state’s north has eased overnight as the monsoonal trough, which dumped more than a year’s rain on large swathes of north and western Queensland, pushes further offshore.

Residents in flood-ravaged Townsville enjoyed patchy sunshine on Saturday, with further fine weather and warm temperatures giving waterlogged homes a chance to dry out over the next week.

A total of 12,850 insurance claims amounting to a combined $161 million had been lodged by residents and businesses in the Townsville region by Saturday 9am.

However, the financial impact on farmers in the state’s interior may not be known for weeks as rural communities from Longreach to Charters Towers, and north to Kowanyama on Cape York Peninsula, remain surrounded by floodwaters.

Drought-stricken graziers, who are estimated to have lost a staggering 300,000 head of cattle, have been using helicopters to find their surviving cattle isolated on high-ground.

These cattle survived but hundreds, perhaps thousands, have perished. Photo: Facebook

Some graziers have reported seeing piles of up to 500 head of dead cattle in paddock corners after becoming weakened and disoriented.

The federal government has opened up grant funding, and the state government on Saturday extended its disaster assistance to several more local government areas, as well as primary producers in Winton.

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned the flood waters in the north west could take days to recede.

“The inland river catchments drain quite slowly so we’re looking at high water level in those rivers for the next five to seven days,” meteorologist Vinod Anand told AAP.

He said the water should drain south into the Channel Country around Boulia and Bedourie, and a flood warning has been issued for the Diamantina River.

A major flood warning remains in place for the Upper Burdekin, Flinders, Albert and Leichhardt Rivers, and a flood watch remains in place for catchments from the Daintree to Mackay.

-AAP