Asia-Pacific

Australian police rescue floodwater airbed trio

Three teenagers float down the Bremer river on air mattresses on 27 December 2010 (Image: Courtesy of Queensland Police)
Image caption Four police teams were involved in the search for the group (Image via Queensland Police)

Police in the Australian state of Queensland have rescued three teenagers who tried to use air mattresses to float 30km (20 miles) on floodwaters.

The three boys were trying to get from Ipswich to central Brisbane via the swollen Bremer river.

Police said the trio had floated 15km before they were retrieved, labelling their actions "foolish and dangerous".

Heavy rain has been falling across southern Queensland, bringing flooding to several towns.

More than 10cm (4in) had fallen in the town of Chinchilla, where Australian broadcaster ABC said residents were braced for the worst flooding in decades.

Residents in several rural towns have been told they may need to evacuate.

The rain was brought by Cyclone Tasha, which hit the state on Saturday.

Across Queensland the damage bill has reached A$600m ($602m; £390m), the broadcaster said.

'Hazardous'

Queensland police said that they had been alerted to the teenagers' actions by emergency calls from members of the public.

Four police crews and a patrol boat were involved in the subsequent search.

Police retrieved the trio from the river after they had travelled about half way to South Bank - a leisure area in central Brisbane.

"This type of behaviour is hazardous and unpredictable due to the nature of floodwaters and the dangers associated with storm debris and road washouts," a police statement said.

The three youths - two aged 17 and one aged 18 - have been told to appear in court for public nuisance.

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