Military helicopters are poised to join the clean-up in cyclone-ravaged far north Queensland.
Military helicopters are on standby to help residents in Queensland’s cyclone-ravaged far north.
But they are unable to fly because of the strong winds that have stranded Premier Campbell Newman in Cairns.
“The Australian Defence Force are there for us once we move in to try and start the clean-up,” Mr Newman said on Saturday morning.
“Late last night I was talking to military people from the 5th Aviation Regiment in Townsville.
“They have a number of helicopters that they’re ready to put onto the task.
“The big issue though will be flying conditions.”
The 5th Aviation Regiment is an army division that operates Black Hawk, MRH90 multi-purpose and Chinook heavy-lift helicopters.
Mr Newman said the wind in Cairns on Saturday morning meant he couldn’t fly.
“I’m not going anywhere this morning even though I want to get up to Hopevale and Cooktown to have a look at what’s going on,” he said.
“I’m not going anywhere because of these weather conditions.”
Hopevale and Cooktown were among the hardest hit by Ita, which hit landfall about 9pm on Friday as a category four cyclone before easing in speed.
Mr Newman said he spoke with Prime Minister Tony Abbott, currently on a trade mission in China, on Friday afternoon.
“He may be in China but he’s very much thinking of the needs of the people in the far north,” Mr Newman said.