March 24 (UPI) — The major floods that have soaked parts of eastern Australia this week have turned deadly, as officials say at least two people have died as a result of rising floodwaters.
Heavy rains have produced the flash floods, which have caused substantial damage across New South Wales in the country’s southeast and Queensland on its eastern coast.
Officials said Wednesday the floodwaters killed a Pakistani citizen in New South Wales when his vehicle became trapped in rising waters. They said he was on a call with emergency operators for about 40 minutes before the connection was lost.
“You can only just imagine somebody fighting for their life to get out of a car,” police official Chris Laird said in a report by The Guardian. “That’s what the inside damage to the car looked like … there were no broken windows. He clearly couldn’t get out.”
Authorities recovered the man’s body several hours later under nearly 20 feet of water.
The other victim, a 38-year-old man, was also found inside his vehicle after it overturned in the Gold Coast hinterland. He’d been missing since Monday.
Weather officials said flooding remains dangerous in the vulnerable areas, even though the heaviest rains have subsided.
“So for some communities, we haven’t seen the peak yet,” meteorologist Dean Narramore said in a report by the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
Nearly 20,000 Australian residents were evacuated in New South Wales amid the flooding on Monday.