Stud horses killed in floods
STUDMASTER Derek Payne is counting the cost after Cold Mountain Stud’s training facility at Lowood was inundated by the devastating rush of water from Grantham and Gatton.
Mr Payne, who manages the training facility for billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer, was still trying to come to terms with it yesterday.
Mr Palmer, who has spent many millions of dollars on the horse farm, rescued his staff from rooftops but nothing could be done for the horses.
“We don’t have an accurate tally yet. We’ll know more in the next couple of days,” Mr Payne said.
“We had 32 horses in two stables – a mixture of racing horses and yearlings – and we’ve lost about 50 per cent of them.”
On Monday afternoon, a wall of water described as an inland tsunami swept from Toowoomba into the Lockyer Valley, wrecking everything in its path.
Mr Payne said he wasn’t at the farm but his staff told him details of their harrowing ordeal.
“Our understanding is it unfortunately happened very rapidly,” he said.
“Because of the rain, the roads and bridges were already cut for a couple of days beforehand so we couldn’t get trucks in or out.
“That was bad enough but what we couldn’t envisage was the rain coming down from Toowoomba that led to us having flash-flooding.
“There was no way for anyone to get in or out. All the workers could do was retreat to higher ground, which was the house.”
Staff returned to the state-of-the-art training facility as soon as possible for the terrible task of assessing the damage.
“We have clean-up crews on the ground at the moment doing as much as they can,” he said.
“The horses that survived are being looked after and the ones that didn’t make it are being buried.”