Dramatic Australia Flood Derails Train

December 27, 2011; 8:09 AM ET
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Track of Tropical Cyclone Grant in Australia's Top End as of Tuesday, Dec 27, 2011. (Australian Bureau of Meteorology)

Flash flooding unleashed by leftovers from Tropical Cyclone Grant has derailed a freight train and cut off a major highway in the Top End of Australia.

The derailment hurt two of the crew members, and two people swept from there swamped car had to be rescued from a tree, according to multiple reports.

Dramatic video footage on websites of the BBC and Australia's ABC showed scenes of water-borne devastation. Both rail and road were cut off by stupendous flood waters of the normally docile Edith River, between Pine Creek and Katherine, Northern Territory.

The derailed train's locomotive was apparently separated from the rest of the train during the incident, which left some of the cars well off the tracks. Some of the cargo was swept against the highway bridge, just down stream.

The trigger for the flooding was extreme rainfall of 20 to nearly 40 cm (8 to more than 15 inches), of rain unleashed within 24 hours by the dissipating tropical cyclone in the drainage of the Edith and Katherine Rivers, data on the website of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) showed. One site, Edith Falls Ridge, registered 38.5 cm, or 15.2 inches.

The incident happened well before daybreak on Tuesday, local time.

Meanwhile, forecasters with the BoM advised that the former cyclone could head back out to sea over the Gulf of Carpentaria, whereupon it can regain tropical cyclone status.


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