One of Australia’s richest men, mining giant Clive Palmer has used his private helicopter to save up to 60 people from floodwaters in south-east Queensland.
Four of Palmer’s staff sought refuge from the rising waters on the roof of the Cold Mountain Stud in Moore for more than thirteen hours.
They watched helplessly as horses drowned beneath them, before being plucked to safety by the helicopter.
"We flew in the company chopper and saved them but one staff member, 22-year-old Murray Sullivan, who drives a lot of our horses to and from venues, was absolutely devastated," Palmer said.
"Thank goodness we have lost no one."
According to Sullivan, Palmer’s generosity saved about 60 people in the area, with emergency services stretched too thin to cope with the huge number seeking assistance.
"I will never, ever forget what Clive did for me. I owe my life to him," Sullivan said.
"I will definitely be returning to work for him but for now I can’t face what is there.
The water has subsided but the thought of cleaning up the carcasses of horses I loved so much would be too much for me to take right now."
It’s not all good news, however, as the animals at the site perished in floodwaters.
Mr Palmer said 80 horses had drowned at the facility due to the flooding.
17 were racehorses including Cam’s Card Shark, Genuwine, Eden Burst, and Fancy Card Shark.
"It’s very sad but the harness racing industry is bigger than just one horse. It will bounce back.
What is important to us is that no lives have been lost. I will keep helping out in any way I possibly can," said Palmer who is estimated to be worth between $3 billion and $6 billion.
Fifteen yearlings trapped in one barn also died.
"This is all very sad and distressing but the welfare of our people must come first. They have been traumatised and it’s vital that they are rehabilitated. There will be a cremation and burial for the horses," Mr Palmer said.