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Fire, emergency services charged over death of volunteer in 2022 floods

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services has been charged after an SES volunteer died in floodwaters more than two years ago.

Mar 01, 2024, updated Mar 01, 2024
A supplied undated image obtained Saturday, February 26, 2022 shows SES volunteer Merryl Dray. Ms Dray died during a flood response at Coolana in the Lockyer Valley overnight. (AAP Image/Supplied by QFES) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

A supplied undated image obtained Saturday, February 26, 2022 shows SES volunteer Merryl Dray. Ms Dray died during a flood response at Coolana in the Lockyer Valley overnight. (AAP Image/Supplied by QFES) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Merryl Dray, 62, was with three other volunteers in a car that was swept off a road en route to a flood rescue near Ipswich, west of Brisbane, in February 2022.

The Office of the Work Health and Safety Prosecutor confirmed a charge had been laid against QFES over Ms Dray’s death.

“The Office of the Work Health and Safety Prosecutor has made a complaint against the state of Queensland in relation to an incident that occurred on 25 February 2022,” a spokesperson said in a statement on Friday.

The matter is listed for mention in the Ipswich Magistrates Court on March 25, they said.

A QFES spokesperson acknowledged the lengthy Work Health and Safety investigation into Ms Dray’s death that has resulted in legal proceedings.

“Merryl will never be forgotten by QFES and her passing is a reminder of the dangers first responders face,” the spokesperson said.

“The health and safety of QFES employees and volunteers is at the forefront of everything QFES does.

“As legal proceedings are underway, QFES will not be commenting on the matter.”

QFES is responsible for the SES.

The 2022 floods caused devastation across Queensland’s southeast with rivers surpassing levels not seen in decades.

Twelve other people were killed in the flooding event.

The floods swamped roads, homes and businesses after receiving months’ worth of rain within days.

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