This dramatic image captures the moment an Australian car park is turned into a raging torrent in a matter of seconds – as one brave driver frantically rushes to save his 4×4.
Stunned ex-pat James Duncan, 23, watched in disbelief as the ”inland tsunami” deluged the area around his office in East Creek near Toowoomba, Queensland, at 1pm on Monday.
James, originally from Ivybridge, Devon, watched from his second floor office window as the whole area was transformed into a raging river of flood water.
Within seconds of the normally-calm creek bursting its banks, dozens of cars are swept downstream by the speeding water.
One brave worker can be seen risking life to save his beloved white 4 x 4 and move it to safer ground as water rages around him.
The man leaps behind the wheel and pulls away moments before several cars around him are swept away.
Environmental planner James said: ”Flash floods caused what they are calling an inland tsunami – just a raging torrent right through the area.
”It was just incredible. There was such a huge amount of rain in such a short space of time it caused chaos.
”The ground had been saturated by heavy rains and then we got something like 70 to 80 millimetres (about three inches) of rain in an hour.
”The floods pretty much came out of nowhere. From the office I was in at the time, I could see cars being swept away.
”The waters tore through the shopping centre and you could see all kinds of furniture being carried off. Luckily, I had parked on higher ground, so my car was not affected.
”I saw one man get into his car to drive it away as other cars around where being swept off. He was extremely lucky to get away.
”It was a stupid thing to do. People with these vehicles think they are invincible and can drive through anything.”
It is believed four people are dead and up to 50 are missing in the devastated area, including communities in the nearby Lockyer Valley.
James, who lives in nearby Brisbane, said he would probably be trapped in Toowoomba for the coming days and is currently staying with his boss from work.
He added: ”The forecasts do not look good. They say there is more heavy rain on the way. At the moment, we cannot get out of here. The roads in both directions are blocked by the water.
”All we can do at the moment is wait it out. Hopefully, I will be able to get back to Brisbane, where I live, by the end of the week.”
The floods came on James’ first day back at work after he had spent Christmas and New Year with his family back in England.
Dad Stuart, from Ivybridge, said: ”He phoned us after the floods had hit to say he was OK.
”Since then, he has tried to drive out of the area he is staying in. He sent a photo of the conditions he was trying to drive through. I was horrified and told him ‘For Christ sake, do not try it. Turn back’.”
The family have all lived in Australia and Stuart remembers floods which hit Australia ten years ago.
He said: ”I got caught in similar conditions then. It is very scary to be driving in conditions where there is a real threat of the water sweeping you and your car away.”
According to reports, several children are among the growing number of people who have been killed in the floods so far.
A local weather station recorded a downpour almost five inches in less than a day.