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Terrifying moment Qantas plane is forced to abort its landing because of thick smoke from bushfires

A Qantas plane has been forced to abort its landing due to thick smoke from bushfires that have killed two and destroyed 150 homes.

Smoke has been billowing into the air across New South Wales and Queensland from more than 90 bushfires as more than 1,300 firefighters battle with a situation officials have described as ‘beyond serious’.

One passenger on a flight landing at Port Macquarie on the state’s mid-north coast, where two emergency level blazes continued to burn on Saturday afternoon, filmed their plane attempt a ‘go-around’ after hitting a huge wall of smoke.

‘Our Qantas pilots performed a ‘go-around’ because the smoke was too thick to land at Port Macquarie,’ the passenger James Hancock wrote on Twitter. 

‘Now safely on the ground after taking a different approach.’ 

Another passenger on a flight flying over New South Wales’ mid-north coast captured a massive cloud of smoke billowing up from the clouds thousands of metres below.

The shocking aerial images come after two people were confirmed dead on Saturday morning and at least seven declared missing as the dozens of bushfires ravage the two states. 

Massive clouds of billowing smoke have been visible from space as 1,300 firefighters battle with a bushfire situation in New South Wales and Queensland officials have described as ‘beyond serious’ 

A firefighter discovered the body of a man in a burnt-out car on Saturday morning at the Kangawalla fire near Glen Innes, and later that morning a woman died in hospital.

The woman was about 7pm on Friday found by firefighters after a blaze ripped through the same area, unconscious and suffering horrific burns over 40 to 50 per cent of her body.

Firefighters and paramedics gave her first aid and CPR for hours at the burned-out property on Old Grafton Road in Diehard until she could be rushed to hospital, but she died on Saturday morning.  

At least 100 homes have been destroyed and a body has been found in a burnt-out car as more than a dozen bushfires rage across New South Wales (pictured bushfire near Taree on state's mid-north coast)

At least 100 homes have been destroyed and a body has been found in a burnt-out car as more than a dozen bushfires rage across New South Wales (pictured bushfire near Taree on state’s mid-north coast)

More than 30 people have been injured in the fires. Pictured are the remains of a boarding kennels in Taree on Saturday morning

More than 30 people have been injured in the fires. Pictured are the remains of a boarding kennels in Taree on Saturday morning

A total of 77 bushfires were still burning on NSW's mid-north coast and south-eastern Queensland at 7am on Saturday, with 42 of them out of control

A total of 77 bushfires were still burning on NSW’s mid-north coast and south-eastern Queensland at 7am on Saturday, with 42 of them out of control

NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said of the more than 30 injuries, 19 were to firefighters and 16 to members of the public (remains of the boarding kennels at Taree pictured)

NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said of the more than 30 injuries, 19 were to firefighters and 16 to members of the public (remains of the boarding kennels at Taree pictured)

The remains of a B Double trailer were left smouldering on the Pacific Highway south of Taree after bushfires swept through the region

The remains of a B Double trailer were left smouldering on the Pacific Highway south of Taree after bushfires swept through the region

A charred tree lay across the Pacific Highway on Saturday morning as the burnt-out bush smoldered by the roadside

A charred tree lay across the Pacific Highway on Saturday morning as the burnt-out bush smoldered by the roadside

More than 30 people are injured and on Friday night firefighters warned they were tackling ‘unprecedented’ blazes and were in ‘uncharted territory’ as they struggled to reach homes where people were trapped.

NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons warned that the death toll was likely to climb and that the dire bushfire situation was far from over.

‘Clearly, given the enormity of the occasion, and the events of yesterday and already some of the compelling information that’s coming from these fire grounds, we need to be attuned to the fact that we could see more casualty and more loss,’ he said on Saturday morning.

The aftermath of a fire that ripped across a highway in rural NSW, destroying a truck its driver was forced to abandon

The aftermath of a fire that ripped across a highway in rural NSW, destroying a truck its driver was forced to abandon

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned the state was ‘not through the worst’ of the devastating bushfires and that with seven people unaccounted for the could be more deaths.

‘There are at least seven people unaccounted for and I’m sorry to say that number can increase during the day,’ she said. 

‘Our thoughts and prayers of course go to the families and loved ones of those two deceased persons.’

Premier Berejiklian praised the work of volunteer firefighters risking their lives to battle the out-of-control blazes, and thanked other states for sending resources to help.

Trucks gathered at Taree Service Centre as smoke billows from a bushfire at Taree on Friday

Trucks gathered at Taree Service Centre as smoke billows from a bushfire at Taree on Friday

Emergency Services Minister David Elliott said there was ‘no sugar-coating’ that the state was going to have a ‘bad week’ with bushfires, but that it had the tools and people to confront the threat.

‘Some of [the volunteer firefighters] are actually having their own homes at risk at the moment,’ he said.

‘They have walked away from protecting their own homes to protect the homes of those that they may not even know.’

Prime Minister Scott Morrison promised $1,000 for every person affected by the fire and $400 per child.

‘Our main thoughts and prayers are with those that have been so directly and horribly impacted by these fires,’ he said on Saturday afternoon.

‘Those who have lost loved ones and those who will loan they have lost loved ones in the not too distant future. Those who have lost homes, those who are sitting in the smaller ruins of properties that once stood, they are the ones that Australians will be thinking of today. 

‘I want them to be assured of the kindness, love and support of their fellow Australians and that the government’s will be doing anything they can, not just to relieve them from this immediate situation but to be there and the recovery in the weeks and months and years ahead.

‘Sadly, we have lost two Australians and I fear that we will lose more before the day is out.’

Mr Morrison also noted Western Australia was on high alert for bushfires as the weather conditions there meant one could break out and quickly spread at any time. 

At least 36 fires were also burning in Queensland, but better weather conditions meant there was no threat to homes or lives on Saturday.  

More than 1,300 firefighters are battling blazes across NSW as officials admit the situation is 'beyond serious' and hot, dry weather forecasts mean 'we're not through the worst of it'

More than 1,300 firefighters are battling blazes across NSW as officials admit the situation is ‘beyond serious’ and hot, dry weather forecasts mean ‘we’re not through the worst of it’

Some volunteer firefighters left their own homes, which were also under threat from the fires, to protect those of complete strangers

Some volunteer firefighters left their own homes, which were also under threat from the fires, to protect those of complete strangers

Firefighters work to contain a bushfire along Old Bar road in Old Bar, NSW, on Saturday - one of 70 fires still burning

Firefighters work to contain a bushfire along Old Bar road in Old Bar, NSW, on Saturday – one of 70 fires still burning

Embers from a tree are seen burning as the fires rage on throughout NSW's coastal towns

Embers from a tree are seen burning as the fires rage on throughout NSW’s coastal towns

A terrifying audio recording captured the moment five NSW RFS volunteers were trapped by three fire fronts in the Taree region of the state’s mid-north coast. 

‘We have been trapped by a falling tree, over,’ the firefighters could be heard saying over the service’s emergency radio before narrowly escaping the advancing flames by driving over the tree.  

Commissioner Fitzsimmons said the situation was going to get worse because weather ideal for bushfires was forecast over the next week.

Hot windy conditions have seen bushfires wreak havoc throughout the state (pictured fire in Woodford in the Blue Mountains, NSW)

Hot windy conditions have seen bushfires wreak havoc throughout the state (pictured fire in Woodford in the Blue Mountains, NSW)

He also warned that the drought across much of NSW, and expected weather in coming months, meant the state was looking at a catastrophic fire season. 

‘Not only is it about next week, but, unfortunately, the forecast for the balance of the season continues to be driven by above-normal temperatures, below-average rainfall, to dominate over the coming months,’ he said.

‘If you put that across this extremely drought-stricken landscape, where you have no moisture in the ground… a flammability of the fuel which is seeing extraordinary fire behaviour, fire spreading and burning very intensely, very aggressively… with spot fire activity doubling or tripling what would normally be expected in the conditions that we have been experiencing.

Residents evacuate themselves and their animals to a park in Old Bar as the fire moves in on the small town

Residents evacuate themselves and their animals to a park in Old Bar as the fire moves in on the small town

LPG cylinders are seen after being moved away from a service station by firefighters along Old Bar road in Old Bar, NSW

LPG cylinders are seen after being moved away from a service station by firefighters along Old Bar road in Old Bar, NSW

Massive plumes of smoke are visible from space and some of the smoke has made it all the way to New Zealand

Massive plumes of smoke are visible from space and some of the smoke has made it all the way to New Zealand

Firefighters work to save a house as they contain a bushfire along Old Bar road in Old Bar, NSW

Firefighters work to save a house as they contain a bushfire along Old Bar road in Old Bar, NSW

A water bombing helicopter attacks a bushfire near houses along Old Bar road in Old Bar, NSW

A water bombing helicopter attacks a bushfire near houses along Old Bar road in Old Bar, NSW

‘The flammability, the lack of moisture in the vegetation, is making it so susceptible to ignition, that many embers are leading well ahead of the main fire front, taking hold, starting fires, and rapidly accelerating the movement of fire across the landscape and into different communities.

‘The risk is real, the risk is here, the consequences are absolutely apparent and evident over the last few weeks and particularly highlighted in the last 24 hours. 

‘We have got the worst of our fire season still ahead of us. We’re not even in summer yet.’ 

Commissioner Fitzsimmons described how the dead man’s body was found in the car by one of the service’s volunteers who was trying to identify unaccounted-for people.

‘One of our senior volunteer commanders has come across a burnt-out vehicle and the remains of somebody has been located inside that vehicle,’ he told the ABC.

‘Clearly, that’s very distressing and our thoughts and prayers to those that are affected and particularly the family and loved ones of the occupant of this vehicle.’ 

The fires have been burning through various NSW towns on Friday night with the blaze expected to last for hours to come

The fires have been burning through various NSW towns on Friday night with the blaze expected to last for hours to come

Bushfires are burning close to homes in Woodford (pictured) on Friday night with fires expected to continue into the night

Bushfires are burning close to homes in Woodford (pictured) on Friday night with fires expected to continue into the night 

The NSW Rural Fire Service issued said 12 'emergency warnings' (pictured in red) were still in place for blazes from the Blue Mountains to the Queensland border

The NSW Rural Fire Service issued said 12 ’emergency warnings’ (pictured in red) were still in place for blazes from the Blue Mountains to the Queensland border 

Crews from the NSW RFS are conducting property protection as the blaze continues to burn through houses on Railway Parade in Woodford, NSW (pictured)

Crews from the NSW RFS are conducting property protection as the blaze continues to burn through houses on Railway Parade in Woodford, NSW (pictured)

Commissioner Fitzsimmons said of the more than 30 injuries, 19 were to firefighters and 16 to members of the public. 

He said firefighters were dealing with a very dynamic, volatile and dangerous set of circumstances.

‘We are in uncharted territory… we’ve never seen this many fires concurrently at emergency warning level,’ he said.  

Carol Sparks, mayor of Glen Innes, where both victims were killed, lost her own home and described the devastation the town went through so soon after other bushfires hit the area.

‘The school was lost, [houses] were burnt, people were burnt, lives were lost.People battled to save their houses and then had to walk out because their cars had blown up, it was just horrific,’ she told the ABC. 

The fire in Glen Innes is so bad that 164 minimum-security inmates had to be evacuated from the local jail to Grafton.

Smoke from the raging bushfires was visible as far away as Tuncurry, on the NSW Mid North Coast on Saturday

Smoke from the raging bushfires was visible as far away as Tuncurry, on the NSW Mid North Coast on Saturday

‘Staff from Glen Innes, Grafton and our Security Operations Group did an outstanding job under such circumstances to ensure everyone’s safety,’ NSW Corrective Services Commissioner Peter Severin said. 

Grafton prisoners stayed locked in their cells and the evacuated Glen Innes inmates were housed in other parts of the jail. 

The NSW Rural Fire Service issued said 12 ’emergency warnings’ were still in place for blazes from the Blue Mountains to the Queensland border.

The billowing smoke was an eerie contrast to the crystal blue water and otherwise cloudless sky

The billowing smoke was an eerie contrast to the crystal blue water and otherwise cloudless sky

In Wallabi Point, where one of the emergency level fires was still blazing on Saturday morning, there were reports of an entire street in the town had been wiped out.

‘We have a massive fireball storm from the south and it has sprung up in the last half an hour. There are flames that have to be 60 foot high,’ resident Peter Lean told the Today show.   

‘I have never seen the sky so red since 2000. The whole street at the end of the roundabout is gone.’ 

Fire chiefs warned the situation was going to get worse because weather ideal for bushfires was forecast over the next week

Fire chiefs warned the situation was going to get worse because weather ideal for bushfires was forecast over the next week

The Block contestants Deb and Andy Saunders had to flee their home in the small town and are staying in a relief centre with other Wallabi Point residents.

‘He was saying that there were eight-storey flames a hundred metres from his home, and he was obviously very concerned,’ The Block host Scott Cam said.

‘At this stage, his house is safe, his family is safe. And he’s in really good spirits considering the situation he’s in.’

A visitor to the Mt Coottha lookout is seen in a smoke haze as a result of bushfires blanketing central Brisbane

A visitor to the Mt Coottha lookout is seen in a smoke haze as a result of bushfires blanketing central Brisbane

NSW Rural Fire Service personnel conduct property protection as a bushfire burns in Woodford

NSW Rural Fire Service personnel conduct property protection as a bushfire burns in Woodford

A firefighter is seen on the job as the RFS conduct property protection at Woodford, as bushfires ravage the state

A firefighter is seen on the job as the RFS conduct property protection at Woodford, as bushfires ravage the state

In Queensland, firefighters have been stretched to the limit as hot and dry conditions along with strong winds turned towns to tinderboxes. 

One resident in the small town of Bobin, near Taree, posted on social media that the local school was on fire and at least one resident was trapped. 

The school has reportedly been destroyed in the inferno in Bobin as well as many as 20 houses. 

Two homes have been lost in Coraki, south of Lismore.

The smoke from the fires was combining to create ‘fire clouds’ which can create lightning even in the absence of rain or storm activity.

A resident hoses smouldering logs at property in Woodford, where hot, windy conditions have wreaked havoc

A resident hoses smouldering logs at property in Woodford, where hot, windy conditions have wreaked havoc

‘These (fire clouds) are extremely dangerous. Do not be caught out in the open,’ the NSW RFS said.

Fire crews have been forced to take shelter in nearby creeks as they continue to battle the raging fires. 

Commissioner Fitzsimmons described the fires as both ‘volatile’ and ‘unprecedented’.

‘To have 17 fires concurrently burning at emergency warning alert level is without precedent here in NSW. We’ve never had this many fires burning at the same time,’ he said. 

The commissioner urged people to stay where they were, as in many cases the access road to leave was more dangerous than their homes.

‘You’ve got to understand a lot of the access roads in and around many of these fires are more dangerous than staying in a shelter or a safer place in your local community or your property,’ he told the ABC.

‘The principal message is about sheltering and sheltering in place – it’s simply too dangerous and too late to leave.’  

There are currently 15 fires burning at emergency levels across NSW as firefighters work hard to control the blaze

There are currently 15 fires burning at emergency levels across NSW as firefighters work hard to control the blaze

A school in Bobin has reportedly been destroyed with as many as 20 houses as more than 1000 firefighters try to battle the blazes throughout NSW

A school in Bobin has reportedly been destroyed with as many as 20 houses as more than 1000 firefighters try to battle the blazes throughout NSW

Residents watch on as a bushfire burns in Woodford, New South Wales, on Friday

Residents watch on as a bushfire burns in Woodford, New South Wales, on Friday

Firefighters and trucks are seen during conduct property protection, as fires ravage New South Wales

Firefighters and trucks are seen during conduct property protection, as fires ravage New South Wales 

A firefighter from the RFS runs down the road during bushfires in NSW. A firetruck is seen in the background

A firefighter from the RFS runs down the road during bushfires in NSW. A firetruck is seen in the background

Residents watch on as an Aircrane water bombing helicopter flies by their property in Harrington

Residents watch on as an Aircrane water bombing helicopter flies by their property in Harrington

RFS is urging those affected, or who have loved ones affected by the fires, to check the Register Find Reunite site. 

Thousands of Queenslanders were forced to evacuate on Friday after the inferno came within just kilometres of Brisbane’s city centre, and a multitude of fires broke out from the Gold Coast to the Sunshine Coast.

Residents of Scenic Rim, about 90 minutes south-west of Brisbane, have two dangerous bushfires burning on either side of them, with winds expected to increase throughout a hot, dry night.

One of them is a blaze at Tarome, a rural hamlet some 80km southwest of Brisbane, that is expected to affect the little community by early evening.

The other blaze is at Clumber and Moogerah, where a prepare to leave order has been issued.

‘Today has been a difficult and dangerous day. The bush fire threat is expected to continue for many hours,’ RFS wrote on Facebook. 

The sun is seen through heavy smoke as a bushfire burns in Woodford on Friday afternoon

The sun is seen through heavy smoke as a bushfire burns in Woodford on Friday afternoon 

A water tanker airplane drops fire retardant on a bushfire in Harrington on Friday

A water tanker airplane drops fire retardant on a bushfire in Harrington on Friday 

More than 90 fires were burning on Friday evening, with the NSW Rural Fire Service issuing 16 'emergency warnings' for blazes from the Blue Mountains to the Queensland border

More than 90 fires were burning on Friday evening, with the NSW Rural Fire Service issuing 16 ’emergency warnings’ for blazes from the Blue Mountains to the Queensland border 

‘Homes, buildings and facilities have been destroyed today. The exact number won’t be known for some time, as Building Impact Assessment Teams inspect the widespread area that has been affected.

‘Numerous people have called for help today – and due to the magnitude and speed of the fires, we haven’t been able to get to everyone, even by road or helicopter.’ 

Shocking photos showed the flames perilously close to homes near Taree and the streets of Grafton clouded in a thick red haze.

Smoke from the fires raging across the New South Wales mid-north coast and up towards the Queensland border could be seen from space

Smoke from the fires raging across the New South Wales mid-north coast and up towards the Queensland border could be seen from space

A mayor on the state’s mid-north coast said the bushfires ripping through the region were ‘horrifying and horrendous beasts’.

Mid-Coast Council mayor David West says he’s anguished as residents brace themselves in the face of volatile fire conditions near Taree.

‘From my personal perspective, it’s horrifying,’ he told AAP on Friday afternoon.

‘I’ve never felt a sense of anguish that I do now, the fear for my community.’

A shocking photo showed the streets of Grafton clouded in a thick red haze as more than a dozen fires rage across the state

A shocking photo showed the streets of Grafton clouded in a thick red haze as more than a dozen fires rage across the state

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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