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Qld: Search to resume for girl, 4, missing after dam wall bursts<

24 Nov 2008 3:16 AM

BRISBANE, Nov 24 AAP - Police and emergency workers will resume the search at first light on Monday for a four-year-old girl missing after a water bladder atop a dam wall burst in central Queensland.

The girl was swept down the MacKenzie River when the bladder, holding at least 6,000 megalitres of water, ruptured at the Bedford Weir near Blackwater, about 200km west of Rockhampton, at about 4.30pm (AEST) on Sunday, policesaid.

The bladder on top of the weir's wall permits more water to be stored.

Sergeant Noel Melrose of Rockhampton police said the girl, who lives in theBlackwater area, was swimming with a group near the weir when the bladder burst.

"Apparently there is a swimming hole below the weir wall for the public, which is quite popular on a hot day, and that's where we believe they were swimming," Sgt Melrose told AAP.

The spill from the weir was roughly equal to the amount of water held by 6,000 Olympic swimming pools, Sgt Melrose said.

Police, Queensland Fire and Rescue Authority crews, paramedics, and State Emergency Service volunteers, along with a helicopter, rushed to the scene.

The search will resume at 5am on Monday.

Water levels on the MacKenzie River should be back to normal by 9am on Monday, Sgt Melrose said.

Blackwater, a mining township with a population of 5,000, was earlier declared the state's 13th natural disaster area after being bruised and batteredon Friday by a ferocious storm packing hailstones the size of melons.