Ingham Daily Press

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Flooded crocodile river bridge crossed by aged farmer seeking medication – could drones be the answer?

The flooded crocodile river bridge that was crossed on foot by an aged farmer.

AN aged farmer waded through a crocodile-inhabited river to collect his medication after Abergowrie Bridge flooded.

People watched on in horror as the man – believed to be in his 70s – spent 45 minutes battling churning currents that swept over the bridge.

Wearing jeans, the man was waist-deep when we crossed the deepest parts.

When on-lookers thought he had made it, a 4-wheel drive vehicle drove over the bridge from the Ingham side to Abergowrie, causing a wave of water that nearly caused the farmer to lose his feet.

An eye-witness sad: ‘It was terrifying.

‘The guy was in his 70s. He was waist deep. It took him about 45 minutes to cross. He nearly got pulled over by the current a few times.

‘When he was near the other side a 4-wheel drive came from the Ingham side. We thought he was going to pick him up – but he drove straight past him, hitting him with a wall of water and nearly knocking him over.

‘He just managed to keep his feet and make it to the other side, where his mate was waiting with his medication.

‘The guy in the 4-wheel drive went over two big logs and nearly got taken [by the river].

‘It’s not worth the risk.’

The inland valley community of Abergowrie, which is home to around 500 people, was cut-off by a swollen Herbert River from Monday until Wednesday.

The eye-witness added: ‘The river was at about 10.6 metres and rising.

‘The bridge floods at 10 metres. It was lapping at about 6 am on Monday morning and had been closed by the council.’

On-looker: ‘We went down the night before with a spotlight and saw a few [crocodile] eyes when we scanned the river.’

‘I wanted to go and help the guy, but I’ve got children. If you get knocked off that bridge by the current you’re gone.

‘You wouldn’t bob back up.

‘If you didn’t drown, you’d be croc feed.

‘Someone called the police. If he’d gone over, the rescue services would have had to try and find him.’

The pensioner crossed the river at around 10.30 am on Monday morning, around four hours after it had been closed by Hinchinbrook Shire Council.

Local photographer Corey Christensen flew cigarrettes into Abergowrie on a drone, and is planning on helping flood-victims who need medication delivered.

On hearing about the farmer, Corey said: ‘That stresses me out. I could have simply fixed that up with no safety risk at all.

‘I’ve never publicly announced before that I can help people. I want to do that now.’

The 27-year-old could be called into action this week, with heavy rainfall predicted for the coming days, which may lead to further disruptions.

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