Truck drivers are stranded at the Puma at Charters Towers. PHOTO: Libby Twine Photography
Truck drivers are stranded at the Puma at Charters Towers. PHOTO: Libby Twine Photography

STRANDED: 'If the pub has beer, we'll be right'

THE message from the Charters Towers community to stranded truckies is clear - we are here to help you so don't be shy.

Hundreds of truckies are parked up at the Charters Towers Puma with nowhere to go due to the flood emergency in northern Queensland after the Burdekin River burst its banks.

Angie Willoughby, who owns Willoughby Hay and Chaff Supplies with her husband, wanted to do something to help so bought some food, cooked it up on the barbeque and handed it out to the stranded truckies.

"The community here has got behind us 100 per cent," she told Big Rigs this morning.

"We're picking them up and bringing them back here (to our business property with a large shed) and feeding them."

She said the truckies were all safe and grateful for the help, and some who had food already were staying to eat in their trucks for the time being and then head out when they needed more meals.

"Some of them have been stuck for up to three days. It's anyone's guess as to when they can head out again and it's still raining," Mrs Willoughby said.

She said trucks were stuck on either side of the Burdekin River and for those stuck on the opposite side, food was being choppered over so they would also be looked after.

Mrs Willoughby said the drivers all had access to showers and the next thing on the list would be clothing.

Fuel could also be an issue, with rumours that one of the local fuel stations had run out of diesel, which she said they needed to keep their air conditioning and fridge units running.

Truck driver Dave Howett, who is stuck at the Charters Towers Puma said the road out to Townsville closed on Saturday morning and the road north to Tablelands was also closed.

Dave said most of the drivers were in good spirits.

"Each of us get different information from different places so it's interesting," he said.

"(We) have no idea how long we are going to be stuck here. If the river at Greenvale goes down, we can get up over the range to Cairns via Mareeba and Kuranda. Otherwise it's a waiting game."

He said he had just spoken to a driver from Clermont and he said the Cape River Bridge was about to go under.

"That's about an hour south of here. Brand new bridge just had been built! So, looks like we're cut off completely now. Happy days! As long as the pub doesn't run out of beer, we'll be right. Car park party tonight apparently!"

Dave said the Burdekin River at Sellheim was closed for at least a few days.

ruckies are stranded due to the floods. PHOTO: Kate Andison Photography
ruckies are stranded due to the floods. PHOTO: Kate Andison Photography

"Just had an emergency message come through over (the) cell tower - west is open at the moment but still raining constantly and can change anytime," he said.

"There is water over the road south of Charters that will rise as the day goes on, but open at the moment.

"The local weather station is saying heavy rain until the weekend or early next week. Then we have to wait for the creeks and rivers to subside and roads to open.

"We have Cairns freight on so need all the roads to open to Cairns before we can leave here as there is nowhere else to stop that's not flooded out.

"There is a lot of food sitting here and other areas in trucks. Just can't get it there."

Dave Howett is stuck at the Charters Towers Puma.
Dave Howett is stuck at the Charters Towers Puma.

Dave said the Puma service station had plenty of food and he and other drivers had a week's worth of food with them.

"The guys staying at the saleyards are coming here to eat," he said.

A Puma Energy Australia spokesperson said Puma Charters Towers was open and trading safely during the north Queensland floods. 

"With showers, toilets, 24-hour service and a restaurant, our team are ready to make sure that any traveller can safely stop and refuel," the spokesperson said. 

"Puma Energy encourages any traveller driving through north and central Queensland to be flood-aware. Stop for rest breaks, carry supplies and never drive through floodwaters. We welcome any traveller to stop at our sites if they don't feel safe continuing their journey. 

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