Mother tells of desperate attempt to save ‘drowning sheep’


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WASHED AWAY: (L-R) Cassowary mother Lisa Armbrust, with sons Beau and Jonathan, has told how rising floodwater swept away three family sheep. IMAGE: Newsport.

A family has described how they tried frantically to save three sheep from washing away in floodwater yesterday.

Nine of the animals were left stranded after a rising Cassowary Creek overwhelmed the backyard of Ben and Lisa Armbrust’s Upper Cassowary Road property. The mother-of-two said ‘there was nothing we could do’ as three of her sheep were swept away in front of them.

“We literally could not grab them quick enough,” she said. “All we could see were these three heads bobbing down the river.”

The Armbrust’s were admiring the wet season downpour from their kitchen window before quickly realising they had a problem. More than 200mm of rainfall was recorded across the Douglas Shire on the weekend, although Lisa says ‘it felt closer to 300’.

“It was unbelievable. One minute we were like ‘yeah this is good rain’ and 15 minutes later the back paddock was gone,” she said.

“We’ve bolted down to see where the sheep were because the water was pretty much at their shed. Within minutes it was surrounded so we’ve rang a couple of neighbours and said ‘hey we’ve got drowning sheep can you come give us a hand’.

“As we were dragging them out of the water a couple of them have broken away, and because the water had already taken the fencing they’ve washed straight out into fast running water. The three of them were just gone.”

Miraculously, one of the male animals was recovered ‘alive but exhausted’ this afternoon in leaf mulch more than a kilometre down stream. The other two were likely to be ‘in the upper and lower cassowary areas’.

“Sheep are very resilient, they can swim, but if they’ve got tangled in vines or a tree then they’ll be in some trouble,” Lisa said.

“Being a single income family these sheep are part of our budget, our food and our diet. The more we can get the word out the more chance we’ve got of getting them back.

“Even if someone does notice them (dead) in the water if they could at least let us know we’d appreciate it.”

If you have any information on the whereabouts of the sheep contact Newsport.

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