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Seven Afternoon News

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09-02-2009 04:30 PM

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Seven Afternoon News -

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(generated from captions) This program is captioned live. In this bulletin - at least 130 people now dead natural disaster. in the country's worst and declared crime scenes Towns wiped out as police search for arsonists. the unbearable pain of loss. Survivors struggle to overcome (SOBS) I lost my whole street. as the nation rallies to help. And heroes are made As a nation, let's pledge this - these communities. that we'll rebuild with Ann Sanders. VOICEOVER: This is Seven's 4:30 News Good afternoon. edition of Seven's 4:30 News. Welcome to this special extended Victoria's bushfire disaster as one of the darkest days is being described in Australia's peacetime history, is far from over. and the threat to homes and lives weekend inferno has risen to 130. The death toll from the

has confirmed The Country Fire Authority but that number is certain to rise

fire-ravaged townships. as crews reach are homeless. That means thousands of Victorians to hold on to their properties, Many people are still battling out of control across the State. with 31 bushfires still burning five are causing major concern. Of those, north-east of Melbourne, Those blazes are at Beechworth, at Churchill, further south,

Kilmore and Bunyip. and Murrindindi, Peter Morris who is in Whittlesea I'm now joined by Seven reporter are seeking shelter and comfort. where many survivors from Kinglake Good afternoon, Peter. is still coming to light. The full scale of this disaster How are the survivors coping?

What is the latest situation there?

Well, the latest situation is

in the last little while wind have Well, the latest situation is that

come up. There have been spot fires,

flareups developing in Kinglake

west. They are jumped on quickly but

the wider picture is there are

urgent threat messages for what we

call the Beechworth fire for towns

of Brurarong, Gun downing, Glenning

creak. There is also a fairup at

Churchillal. I understand the south

Gippsland highway will be closed

near Churchill shortly. In terms of

those who got out of the fire storm

over the week, the stories are remark over the week, the stories are

remarkable. People are in shock and

the enormity of what happened here.

They are trying to cope and some

have lost loved onesch some have

lost family. For those who got out

of Kinglake, Kinglake west which was

had to say. decimated by fire, here is what they

that's for sure. We always knew it was coming, and Kinglake would eventually go. We always knew Whittlesea

yeah, it's just horrific. Um, but to live through it, when our water went off. We got out

our house and lost everything We got out and, um, we've lost and we're uninjured so we're lucky. but, um, we we're got each other firefighters must be exhausted Peter, Is help on the way?

Help is on the way. As you say,

these people are, a lot of them have

connection to those who have died or

those who lost homes. There is

relief in the way of the ADF,

Defence Forces have sent in backup

this afternoon. Much-needed support.

Armored personnel carriers. It will

be utilised to assist those doing

the hard things in the monten tops

and trying to round up the fire,

provide resources, food, watt, provide resources, food, watt,,

other things, fuel that needs to be

taken up. Also, the graders will

used to cut containment lines. That taken up. Also, the graders will be

is dirty, hard and difficult work used to cut containment lines. That

that has to be done. It is what the fireies and the grader drivers have

been doing the last few days.

Everybody is tired here, there are

strike teams coming from all over

the place, from many, many miles

away. Made up of trucks from very

small country towns on the other

side of the state and I

there are colleagues from New South side of the state and I understand

Wales and South Australia coming in

to assist those who need a break.

But certainly, there is relief here

but it will take this

but it will take this community a

long time to understand what has

happened. Sknlrx The death toll is

rising by the hour, when are we

likely to know the tragic final

figure? It could be days or weeks.

We have a figure, I think you

mentioned earlier of 130. The

estimates are it cop 200. But there

are such -- top 200. But there are

such difficult tasks. Fire rescue

crews and police, trying to get to

homes which are still smouldering,

the roofing aourns are to

the roofing aourns are

the roofing aourns are to be hot to

lift but there

lift but there are fears there are

families under them. We may not know lift but there are fears there are

for a couple of days

for a couple of days what the figure

settles at and a couple of weeks

before the identification process

takes place and people have firm in

their minds who has lost their

lives. Is it too early for residents

to talk about returning and lives. Is it too early for residents

rebuilding? I think they are just

trying to get over the shock of what

has happened and get their heads e

round the enormity of what happened.

For those who have given it some

support, they love the town and the

communities, they want their

communities to survive. Many will go

back and rebuild, many have pledgeed

to go back and rebuild not only for

themselves but for their friends and

neighbours and rebuild the

communities so they are biger and neighbours and rebuild the

better than before. It is the

feeling of the premier and the Prime

Minister to see the communities

survive. It is something of a

therapeutic thing, something that

will help heel the pain that is

for the update. going on. Let's hope so. Thank you

is mourning the death The media world Brian Naylor of former Melbourne newsreader in the Kinglake bushfires. who was among those killed alongside that of his wife Moiree The 78-year-old's body was found at Kinglake West. in their burned-out property in the living rooms of Victorians Naylor was a nightly fixture for more than 40 years with his trademark sign-off.

That's all our news for now. later on this evening Be back with you with our 'This Week' program,

may your news be good news so, until then, and goodnight. have described Naylor Former colleagues devoted family man, as a true gentleman, and consummate professional. only last year His family was struck by tragedy was killed when his adult son Matthew in an ultra-light plane crash. continues to rise, As the death toll from the bushfires so too does the number of injuries. Many of the most seriously burnt victims of the fires have been flown to Melbourne's Alfred Hospital. The Alfred's Burns Unit Director, Heather Cleland, joins me now on the phone. Ms Cleland, thanks so much for your time. How has your hospital been coping with this national disaster?

Well, the Alfred Hospital has been

coping very well at the present

time. We have put all of our

processes for this kind of situation

into play. At this point, we are

pretty confident that everything

that needs to be done is being done.

We have had reports the Alfred ran

out of pain-killing morphine at one

out of pain-killing morphine at one point. Has it been resolved. It

didn't neet need to be resolved

because the Alfred has not run out

of morphine at any point. There are

clearly logisticial considerations

in a major incident like this when

we are treating an awful lot of

patients but at no time ran out of

anything. Burns patients need an

mense amount of resources,

particularly dressings and other

treatments for their burns.

Certainly, our stock

have been very

have been very closely looked at to Certainly, our stock arrangements

make sure we don't run out. Doctors

at some of the major hospitals have

compared it to the carnage compared it to the carnage of the

Bali bombings is it what you are

dealing with? We have had at the

Alfred 20 of the most

Alfred 20 of the most severely injured people. And obviously,

around other hospitals in Victoria,

less significant, less severely

injured people, many of them are

being treated either as inpatients

or outpatients. It is a mass

casualty situation: thank you very

much for being with us this afternoon. Among the devastation of the Kinglake fires there are some amazing stories of survival. Resident Rob Ritchings was one of the lucky ones who managed to escape. This is his story. The fire came over, the house caught fire. I was trying to hose it down and the power went out. All the windows started exploding in the house and then the roof started caving in

and basically, I just had to get out, get in the car and just took off into the smoke. There was flames coming in the side of the car and the inside of the car caught fire. lucky I had a can of bourbon in the car to put it out. You put the flames in your car out with a can of bourbon? Can of bourbon, yeah. Who was in the car, was it just yourself? Just me, just me, yeah.

What was going through your mind at that point? Just to get out alive. My wife had just... ..she was in the other direction. (SOBS) It's OK, it's OK. I couldn't find her for two days. Mate, you are alive and that's the main thing. Yep, no worries. There are a number of helplines set up for people affected by the bushfires. If you're concerned about family or friends in Victoria, ring the Red Cross on: The Federal Government has announced immediate compensation for victims of the bushfires. There's $1,000 for adults and $400 for children. There's also $5,000 to help pay for victims' funerals. For details, call the Centrelink hotline on: And for information about the fires and road closures, ring the Bushfire Information Hotline on: Stay with us on Seven's 4:30 News. Our special coverage of the Victorian bushfire disaster continues after this break.

Margo, Jake sent us an email! Hi, Grandad. We're having SO much fun.

The National Museum of Australia is really cool. You're even allowed to touch stuff, and we saw some amazing things, like Phar Lap's heart.

We designed a city of the future, and heard stories from when you were a kid. Mum said you even had one of these - is that true? Got to run, Grandad. 'Bye! There are so many reasons to visit the award-winning National Museum of Australia in Canberra. of Seven's 4:30 News. Despite today's cooler temperatures, Victoria's bushfire crisis is far from over with several blazes still burning across the State. The main area of concern today is Beechworth in the State's north-east where more homes are under threat and firefighters are struggling to establish containment lines. I'm now joined by Steve Wharrington from the Country Fire Authority. Good afternoon, Steve. What's the situation there now?

Good afternoon. As we go to air

tonight, unfortunately, there is now

listed as 131 people have died as a

result of these fires, which is

absolutely devastating news from our perspective. absolutely devastating news from our

perspective.It has burned out over

330,000 hectares across Victoria,

500 homes. As you mentioned we still

have a number of fires not under

control. The other interesting

thing, even the fires that are still

burning in the Kinglake complex and

the Bunyip area, they have the Bunyip area, they

the Bunyip area, they started to

kick up under the wind. With the

emotion of emotion in

emotion of emotion in the pub l it

is causing anxiety. A lot of our

attention is now providing support

and information to people as much as

possible, because it is just an

absolute horrific event that has

occurred here in Victoria. We are

trying to do everything we can to

help our communities. We can see you

are doing a sensational job. How

many fires are still causing

concern? Look, we have still got eight large

eight large fires going. We have got

a fire going in the eastern part of

the state we don't have resources on

at all simply because our

at all simply because our priority is life. The safetyf the crews, of

course, the people's life,

structures and property. So we made

the decision, some of these, not to

put resources on them. The Bunyip,

Kinglake, the Beechworth and the

Churchill area, as we go to air, the

Churchill fire has got up again

under a bit of wind, but we think we

will get that, and

will get that, and the South Gippsland Highway is being closed as

we speak. It is an interesting and

dynamic environment for us. The

message is keep off the roads, it is

plain and simple, in front of the

fire, don't be on the roads,

anywhere near fire, if you see

smoke, keep off the

smoke, keep off the roads. Where the

fires have been. We have got a lot

of police doing forensic

investigation, a lot of smoke, a lot

of dead trees. We urge

of dead trees. We urge people to

keep away from these areas, they are

horrific and we don't want people

there. Any other advice to residents

aside from keeping off the roads?

Obviously, the main advice, without

confusing people is keeping off the

roads, but if you are confronted by

a killer fire, the killser radiant

heat, don't be in the paddock or the

car, the best place is standing

somewhere, your house, if it is not

defendable, stay in someone else's

house down the road. The absolute

worst thing, and the big message is

do not evacuate at the last minute.

That decision can prove fatal.

Finally, quickly, weez as a fire

service and one of the best fire

services, we believe in the world,

we can only do so much here in

Victoria, it is up to the

communities to help and support each

other. We can do this together. Huge

effort by the firefighter, thank you

for the update. We will get another

one from your shortly. Good on you, thank you. As Steve just said, since we began this bulletin the death toll from the fires has risen by 1 to 131.

Federal Parliament has paused for a minute's silence to honour the men, women and children who've lost their lives The routine business of Parliament was cancelled today as MPs shared the nation's grief.

The burden of tragedy weighs heavy. The expressions of solidarity from around the world The Prime Minister is urging Australians to dig deep. And as a nation, let's pledge this, that we'll rebuild these communities. In Canberra, MPs were arriving at Parliament with little stomach for politics. Look, could I please just leave that to tomorrow? I don't think today is an appropriate day for that sort of thing. The mood of Parliament will be very sombre and respectful about what's happened in Victoria. On a day like today the hurly-burly of politics seems trivial, even petty, in comparison. One Victorian MP brought tales of heroism and generosity from friends in the fire zone. She told me about the baker who'd lost his home but came out the next day to feed people that didn't have any food. In the shadow of this national tragedy, political hostilities are on hold. For the first time since the Bali bombing, question time has been cancelled. Instead, Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard led the Parliament in a condolence motion. I offer the deepest and most sincere condolences of this House and our nation's Parliament,

to those families suffering most, to the communities lost and to a State that will never be the same. A tragedy beyond belief, beyond precedent and, really, beyond words. It is with a very heavy heart that I rise to support the motion so eloquently moved by the Deputy Prime Minister. Mr Speaker, we live in a very beautiful country,

but, surely, it has a terrible beauty, and we have seen the full terror of that beauty in the last few days. The Queen has sent a message expressing shock and sadness. Governor-General Quentin Bryce is making plans to visit Victoria's shattered communities later this week. The speed and ferocity of the bushfires caught many people by surprise. To explain how such extreme weather conditions were created, David Brown I'm joined by our weatherman

who is fighting his way through to the devastated town of Kinglake. Good afternoon, David. What caused these devastating fire storms? Good afternoon, Ann. It was a combination of several things - an unrelenting drought and record-breaking heat

That has persisted for more than a

decade and extreme heat, fanned by a

cold front. Rather squally northerly

wind that hit central parts of

Victoria during the early evening on

Saturday. The northerlies cracked 80

to 100km/h, stirring up the blinding

smoke and of course, the ash, also

fueling the

fueling the wild firestorms.

Thankfully we have a cooler milder

air stream which is currently

driving weather conditions across

the state, somewhat more predictable

than the weekend. This cool-to-mild

southerly air stream should help the

firefighters over the next few days.

But firefighters over the next few days.

But what we desperately need here is

drenching rain. There is no sign of

any rain for the next week. Thank

you, David, talk to you for more

weather later. As we mentioned earlier, the Prime Minister is urging Australians to dig deep to help the hundreds of families devastated by the Victorian bushfires. Donations can be made through the National Australia Bank, Commonwealth and the ANZ. The Bendigo Bank has also set up a appeal. You can contribute online or by going into any branch. Details are on our Seven News website. Continuing now to our amazing stories of survival Next in Seven's 4:30 News, we'll return to the bushfire zone for an update on the current fire emergency. In news .. We're urged to dig deep for devastated Victorian families. Chief Minister Jon Stanhope and Opposition leader .. Zed Seselja say the tragedy's a black reminder of the 2003 bushfires. Details on how to donate are on our website. Retired High Court judge .. Michael Kirby's only the second person to be appointed a distinguished visiting fellow at ANU. (QUIRKY MUSIC)

Don't you hate it when you're given little choice in home loans? Mortgage Choice can help hand-pick your loan from our wide panel of leading lenders because we're independent.

Welcome back to this special bushfire edition of Seven's 4:30 News. We'll now cross back to our reporter Peter Morris who's been speaking with survivors of Victoria's bushfire crisis. Peter, we have seen shocking scenes today, you must have heard some extraordinary stories?

The stories are amazing. They are

heart-wrenching, sad and hurowic.

People have done extraordinary

things to get out of the firestorm.

What they are saying is is a haul

cast. Let's listen to some of the amazing stories. It just went dark, couldn't see 20 foot in front of us. Ash everywhere, um, yeah. The wind was just picked up and just started roaring. The sound of it, to me, was like four jumbo jets just sitting there idling We headed back down the mountain to come across another fire, crossing our path and I knew we had to drive through it. My window was down because I didn't expect there were to be a fire that quickly in front of us. I just closed my eyes and said, "Hold on" and just drove through it. My hair caught on fire. Bloody car was on empty. We, ah, tried to get fuel at the Glenburn service station. There was no fuel because the power was out. Look, I don't know if I believe in God or not, mate, but that car got us to Yea. It was on empty all the way. Peter, we've seen plenty of volunteers helping survivors.

Do they have enough help and supplies?

They do. But I guess, everybody can

do with more help in these

do with more help in these circumstances. We have the Red Cross

here, Saint John here, SES, CFA and

any number of other smaller

organisations that are providing

organisations that are providing support. But the locals are being

cared for as best they can. I guess

the thing they want is information.

You can't buy that. But time will

bear out what information they need.

bear out what information they need.

But I guess, one of things that our

viewers can do is continue to

support and donate to the bushfire

appeal via the hot line. Sure. Take

care, thank you very much for the update at Whittelsea. The Army is putting its bulldozers in front of new fire breaks as emergency crews race against time to contain the Kinglake blaze. Some residents are refusing to come down from the mountain top on which they sheltered on Saturday, as their town was wiped out.

You can only say it is a terrible tragedy and the ADF as part of the community is going to do its bit to work with all the other agencies and civilian authority to get up here and help out as best we can. We've had a couple of flare-ups today within containment lines but they have given us a bit of hard work today and there have certainly been two. We jumped on top of one, which has now been brought back under control, and we are working on another one but they are within the containment lines, so they're within burnt areas. We have a number of police and other personnel up on the mountain at the moment and they are doing a doorknock of all the affected streets and houses, their welfare, what their needs are so we can address those needs. It is horrific. We've been using emotional terms like "hell on earth"

and those sorts of descriptions. From all accounts, an accurate description of what they're facing up there. Is it likely that you may find more bodies still? I'd suggest it is very likely, yes. What makes you say that?

I think at this stage the search that we have undertaken and the CFA have assisted us in is in areas that are still quite hot. We've been unable to lift roofs of houses that have collapsed

so we're not in a position to be conclusive about what and if remains might be present at those locations. Premier John Brumby has called for arsonists arrested over the blazes to be charged with reckless murder. More than half the State has been declared a crime scene, and investigators are beginning the long task of combing through the ruins to determine how each fire started.

They've confirmed some were deliberately lit.

The fire in Churchill,

which is down in the Gippsland valley, is certainly one that we believe was lit, good evidence to believe that it was lit.

Fire experts and our own

investigators have suggested the way

the happened, how fast it happened,

there is good evidence to believe it was lit.

Police are urging anyone who knows anything, or saw any suspicious activity, to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

The bushfires have affected thousands of Victorians, including members of the Seven News team. Reporter Norm Beaman spent a frantic half hour not knowing whether his wife, Annie, was alive or dead or if their home at Mt Disappointment, near Kilmore, was still standing. He was stopped by police at roadblocks as he tried to reach wife who was trapped at their home. This is his story. My wife is in there in the middle of this and the last time I spoke to her, she was screaming -

she was frantic. Show told me she was going to jump into the dam with a towel, with a blanket over her. Um, the sheds were burning and she said the house was about to go. I don't give a dam about that but I just want to know she is alive. I tried to breach - tried to get through, sorry, several roadblocks

but were blocked at every one and they said, "If you go through, "you could be the subject of a coronial inquiry

"and we don't want that on our heads" and so I just kept scouting around and I was at Kilmore East on about the sixth attempt to get in, to save her and someone let me through. So this was our machinery shed, dear... Yeah. ..and hay shed. Went up with a big explosion. It really did, did it? Massive, unbelievable, yep. Terrible. What sort of noise? Most frightening thing I have ever seen in my life, I think. Just like a bomb going off. Incredible. Yeah. So, when this went up, that's when you decided to hoof it, isn't it? Yeah, this went up and then it came across the road from the other side. It was already in the front paddock. Everything was burning and I just left. After the break we'll check on the fires in New South Wales as we continue our special coverage of the nation's bushfires disaster. WOMAN: Oh, wow. MAN: Fantastic. We've got our house back. It's perfect. (KIDS SQUEAL) You see, kids? Just like it was before. BIRDS CHIRP OU IDE) RDS CHIR OU IDE) Except for your room. Don't settle for less. Switch to GIO Home Insurance and get a safety net of up to 25% extra home cover exceeds your sum insured. GIO - we don't just listen, we do. VOICEOVER: The journey continues with the amazing DK Eyewonder book series from the ocean to volcanoes and the pyramids, there's a new 48-page book every day for $2 each. Only with the 'Daily Telegraph' and the 'Sunday Telegraph'.

Continuing now to our amazing stories of survival You're watching a special extended edition of Seven's 4:30 News. Joining me again is Steve Wharrington from Victoria's Country Fire Authority. Is there any update on the bushfire situation?

Look, it is absolutely

Look, it is absolutely devastating at the moment. It is fair to say

some of the stories we are hearing

are gut-wrenching from our point of

view. We do have a number of fires

burning, I said before the Churchill

fire has kicked up again. A few

flairups in the Kinglake complex but

we believe we should get them under

control around the private assets

areas. But it would be remiss of me

to remind people it is more than a

fire event, it is all the emergency

services pulling together, New South

Wales, and Canberra. A real

Australian effort, if you like, now,

and government agencies and in a

sense, in this time of need, it is

almost a sense of irony or heart

warming that people are offering so

much help. We have been inundated

with support and help in a number of

different areas. But goodness me, it

is just tragic for us. It is

believed at least some of the deadly

blazes were deliberately lit. How

are investigations progressing? Yes

yes we

yes we are aware many of the

fireerize deliberately lit. The

fireerize deliberately lit. The --

fireerize dlibterately lit. We will

leave it to the police. Our efforts,

to think frank, we can't take our

eye off the ball. We have some weeks left before our eye season is over,

a good four to six weeks left. Zee

got fires burning, and need to get

them under control before warmer

weather comes. We will leave it to

the police and can't focus on

themotion because we have other

priorities, to be quite frank. As we

know, the death toll from the

disastser staggeringly high. Is it

because residents left it too late

to evacuate? Look, the toll, the

loss of life in of on this fire is

131. As you know, that figure

continues to be reevaluateed and I

don't want to speculate what caused

the number of fatalities here. What

I do want to say, the message is

clear from our point of view, stay

off the roads. Don't be out in the

open. It is raid ypt heat that will

kill people in these inenvironments.

Protect yourselfs in your houses,

don't get on the road at the times

of fire. It would be the message I

would pref to give. Thank you for

the good advice. All the best. Continuing now to our amazing stories of survival from the bushfire zone. Gary and Barbara Pascoe thought their children and niece, Jaime, were dead. They were reunited today.

Haven't spoken to them since ten

o'clock yesterday and we found them,

they are alive. It is such a relief,

they live in Kinglake. They are on

their way, catching the bus. You

lose hope? Yes. We spoke to her

yesterday but we haven't heard since

yesterday, contact. We spoke to her,

she said she had to go because there

was fure coming over the hill and it

was the last we heard of her. Did

you think they lost their lives? Our

house in Flowertkael and she said

the houses on either side were

burned down. It was devastation. You

thought you lost them? Yes. How hard

has it been waiting? Gee. I don't

know, you can't describe it. Believe

it now? Yes! I think so. Come on...

Hit our house, we had to flee, Hit our house, we had to flee, all Hit our house, we had to flee, all Hit our house, we had to flee,

we can do is sit in the car, in the

middle of Kinglake, we middle of Kinglake, we couldn't get

out. Everything is gone. Can you

believe you have survived this? Not

at all. When we were there sitting

on the car thinking shit we have

gone. And I had my six-year-old

sister telling her what do I tell her?

To New South Wales now, where eight bushfires are still burning out of control. The most serious has been at Peats Ridge on the State's Central Coast, which at one stage threatened several nearby homes. Seven reporter Angela Cox has all the latest on this blaze.

Firefighters and residents here

Firefighters and residents here at Peats Ridge are breathe a sigh of

Peats Ridge are breathe a sigh of relief. A cool change came through

at 10 p.m. After a day of scorching

temperatures but it wasn't until 2am

temperatures but it wasn't until 2am this morning fire crews were

confident their on top of the

situation. They continued

backburning throughout the night to

strengthen containment lines. During

the night we

the night we experienced some

the night we experienced some intense fire behaviour you wouldn't

normally get of an evening when the

temperatures are cooler. The

conditions in the bush are still

quite dry. Firefighters are not

necessarily taking a resting break

overnight. The situation here was

declared an emergency bushfire on

Saturday afternoon. Since then it

burned through 200 hectares, 200

properties were under threat.

Homeowners are obviously feeling

better. When it first started we

better. When it first started we knew it would be danger. It was

knew it would be danger. It was intense alright. Especially as it

got going. We sort of started

panicking. We thought it is not

good. While the good. While the immediate threat has

passed. Residents are being told to

stay vigilant, smouldering logs

could reignite the fire. Regardless of could reignite the fire. Regardless

of cloudy and cooler conditions it

is about consolidating. While the

cooler temperatures are very

welcome, the humidity isn't. The

light drizzle is actually hampering

backburning efforts and making it

very difficult to strengthen the

containment lines. After the break, After the break in Seven's 4:30 News - we'll check on Queensland's floods where three people are missing, including a young boy feared taken by a croc.

Welcome back. From the extremes of Victoria's bushfires to the floods in North Queensland now where emergency crews are also stretched to the limit. Three people are missing in the floodwaters, among them a 5-year-old boy feared taken by a crocodile. Seven reporter Michael Best has the latest from Townsville.

Authorities scaled back the search

for Jung J egremy Doble today. His

father, who runathize local

crocodile spotting tourist operation

was repairing board walks. They was repairing board walks. They were

in the area. The dog jumped into the

floodwaters and he jumped in. His

older brother saw a large crock

swimming towards him and they both

disappeared. Authorities set a trap

for the crocodile sw have been

assisted by the members of the Cape

Tribulation community. The local

community up there is devastated. A

boy who grew up around crocodiles.

His father was a passionate

protector of them yet his son was

taken yesterday. He is not the only

person missing. Two men in Tully

remain missing, swept off a flooded

causeway the night before last while

trying to cross. Authorities are

searching for the two men today. The floodwaters are

floodwaters are dropping. In Ingham

they have fall an metre but many

they have fall an metre but many communities like Forest Beach are

isolated. They haven't received

supplies for days. The army flew in

4,500 ration packs and they are

being distributed but the relief

efforts will go on for a while. So

many homeerize damaged and hundreds,

possibly thousands remain isolated.

The weather band that remained the

flooding is moving south to Mackay.

Heavy rain has fallen

Heavy rain has fallen but all is no

flooding. The bureau expects the

monsoon rain to continue south. We

may be out of the woods here in

Townsville and inm but it is still

the wet season and locals know the

rain can return at any time. Five people have been killed in one of Queensland's worst road accidents in recent history. Just before 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon, a car and a campervan collided on the Bruce Highway, south of Mackay.

It's not known what caused the crash. But it's just a timely reminder that you need to be vigilant and take the appropriate rest breaks when you're travelling. The sole survivor, a 25-year-old woman, was airlifted to hospital. Former surgeon Jayant Patel has faced court Time to check the financial markets with Westpac's Global Head of Economics, Bill Evans. Good afternoon, Bill. How did our markets perform today?

Good afternoon. Well the US market

was up over 200 points. Our market

up about 39 points. Which is a

decent performance. More than 1%

jump. The reason why the US was up,

despite the fact that they reported

the highest unemployment rate since

1992, at 7. 1992, at 7.7%

1992, at 7.7%, is optimism the Obama

rescue package will pass through the

government, the senate tomorrow. rescue package will pass through the government, the senate tomorrow.

government, the senate tomorrow. As a result of optimism about the US,

we saw BHP doing well, the resources

overall up over 3%

overall up over 3%. Westfield

Bounced back after the bad run

recently. The banking stocks, the

large barging stocks up 2%

large barging stocks up 2%, but the

Suncorp metway down more than 20%

Suncorp metway down more than 20%,

following a 30% deep discount share

issue. Of course, IAG down 10% in response to

response to risks for the insurance

response to risks for the insurance

industry. Aussie dollar still quite

strong. This week we will be very

closely watching Westpac consumer

closely watching Westpac consumer sentiment and the all-important employment numbers out on Thursday.

Thank you Bill Evans from Westpac. Wrrk Heath Ledger will almost certainly receive a posthumous Oscar next week after receiving Britain's highest film honour this morning.

The late Australian actor has been honoured with a BAFTA for his chilling portrayal of the Joker in 'The Dark Knight'. Earlier, Hollywood A-listers braved London's record winter chill and walked the red carpet. Kate Winslet took out best actress for 'The Reader' after also being nominated for 'Revolutionary Road'. Next in Seven's 4:30 News - we'll check tomorrow's weather and bring you more of the tales of survival and courage in the face of Victoria's bush inferno. Time to check back in now with our weatherman, David Brown who is at Whittlesea.

David, can you take us through the forecast?

Well, thankfully today we have had

cool, to mild, southerly wind

sweeping across Victoria which has

been good for the firefighter effort

throughout the state. Looking at the

latest sequence, you will notice on

your screen clear skies for Victoria

but in the tropical north the

monsoonal trough continues to drive

rain over Queensland. The trough is

heading south. Some of the rain

drifting towards Brisbane hraet

tomorrow. A trough developing for

eastern parts of New South Wales,

bringing showers and thunderstorms

to the region. For the south-east

corner, little change is expected

because of the huge high sitting

there in the anyone great Australian

Bite, maintaining the southerly air

stream for Victoria, but direct a

hot east to north-easterly air

stream. The south-west corner of WA

looking very hot. Moving on to the

forecast:

, Melbourne, the chance of an early morning shower.

Brisbane, rain developing and

becoming heavy towards evening. Yes,

the tropical down porperize set to

continue through northern and

central parts of qeelds. That is the

latest weather of course, more

details at 6 o'clock. Thank you,

very much, Brownie, take it easy there. Heart-wrenching stories of loss have emerged from the bushfire crisis. But among the devastation there have also been incredible tales of survival.

Here are some more of those stories. Just come through that quick, and yeah, the fire was right behind us. We just got out in time, really. Because it was so smoky and so hot, your mind kept saying "go to sleep, lay down, sit down, sit down" and you knew - trying not to black out because if you blacked out, you were dead. I just wanted to grab the hose and, you know, do something, put some water on the house but I just said to my wife "let's get in the car and go".

I came to the front door and I walked out and I could see thick black smoke coming over the horizon and I walked round to the side where that ute is and the bloody pergola was already up in flames, so we just grabbed the kids. I heard explosions about 1km up the road - I guess, gas bottles going off. The wind really picked up and that's when I left the house and went to the pub. Community just, you know, came together - strangers, neighbours, family, you know. It's just great to see. It's just a shame that, you know, we lost so much. As long as you're insured, you can rebuild. You know, life is so precious. And I tell you, they said it was deliberately lit, so they reckon, and if I catch 'em - stuff the law. That's all from this special extended edition of Seven News. Before we go here's a recap of today's developments

in the aftermath of the Victorian bushfires.

The cross-examination FA has confirmed:

31 bushfires are burning out of

control, five are causing major

concern. They are at pwefp

Beechworth, urgent warning have been

issued for Churchill in the south

and Murrindindi, Kilmore and Bunyip.

21 council areas across the state

have now been declared disaster

zone. A man has been charged over

one of the Victorian fires. The

blaze broke out at Narree Warren on

Saturday, at the height of the

disasterse damaging three homes and

sheds and cars. Police

sheds and cars. Police believe

sheds and cars. Police believe the fire was sparked by a power tool. A

45-year-old has been charged with

breaching a fire ban and endangering life.

Our next news is at 6:00. There'll be a special bushfire bulletin at 10:30 tonight.

But that's all from the 4:30 news team for this Monday. I'm Ann Sanders. See you tomorrow. Supertext Captions by Red Bee Media Australia www.redbeemedia.com.au