The RACQ CQ rescue helicopter was dispatched the island at about 9.30am.
The RACQ CQ rescue helicopter was dispatched the island at about 9.30am.

Rescue of backpacker abandoned after strong winds

THE RACQ CQ rescue helicopter has been activated after reports of a German backpacker stranded on Gloucester Island came to light.

This morning as Cyclone Iris powers up crews were dispatched the island at about 9.30am but strong winds thwarted attempts to land.

The Whitsunday Water Police were then tasked with the rescue.

Meanwhile the the Regional Harbour Master will close the Whitsunday Pilotage Area on Wednesday 4 April 10.00am local time.

"All vessels are directed to return to base or seek shelter and secured by closure time. No vessel movement will be allowed after the closure without approval of the Regional Harbour Master or his delegate," read the message on the Whitsunday Disaster and Emergency Information Facebook page.

"The Whitsunday Pilotage Area will only be re-opened when the Harbour Master is satisfied that it is safe for vessels to go back on the water and will advise you accordingly."

Already a yacht at Shute Harbour named Sail Away has slipped it moorings and run onto rocks.

 

The yacht Sail Away stuck on the rocks at Shute Harbour.
The yacht Sail Away stuck on the rocks at Shute Harbour.

Around the Whitsundays people are heeding the warnings from the Bureau of Meteorology and stocking up on fuel and food supplies.

Shade sails are coming down as the region collectivity braces for the impact of the Cyclone Iris which at 11am remained a Category 2 cyclone off the Herbert and Lower Burdekin coast.

The BoM is predicting Iris will to continue moving slowly to the south-east, parallel to the Queensland coast, for the next two days while slowly intensifying.

Both lanes of Shute Harbour Rd at Hamilton Plains are under water.