Bedford Weir QLD Bursts Killing Girl

Nelani Koefer aged 4
The body of Nelani Ciara Koefer, 4, was found 800m downstream from where she had last been seen swimming
Wall of Water kills girl when Bedford Weir Bursts Queensland

4 year old Nelani Koefer, was swept down the MacKenzie River on 23 November 2008 when the water storage facility at Blackwater, 200km west of Rockhampton failed releasing 6,000 megalitres of water.

The water storage bladder (Fabridam) passed safety inspections only 1 week ago; the fabridam is a 1.2 meter rubber tube which is inflated to increase the Bedford Weirs storage capacity. The fabridam sits on top of the concrete weir.

Nelani and 3 other adults were swept away when a 1.2 metre tube on top of the weir suddenly deflated releasing water. Nelani and her family were completely unaware of the failure and they were relaxing enjoying leisurely Sunday afternoon swim.

SES rescued the 3 adults on Sunday night. The adults were saved by grabbing onto tree branches but Nelani disappeared.

Nelani’s body was found on Monday 800 meters downstream from the Bedford Weir. Nelani’s mother is being treated for shock in hospital.

The dams operator Sunwater has 6 other similar structures across Queensland. Sunwater has inspected these structures and all have been cleared. Dumbleton and Mirani Weirs on the Pioneer River near Mackay and the Claude Wharton Weir on the Burnett River near Gayndah have inflatable rubber dams fitted.

Sunwater chief executive Peter Boettcher told the ABC “The weir was operating very well, there were no signs of anything leading up to the failure. It was last inspected in July this year and there were no issues identified then. Last week we were on site as well and again no issues were identified so there were no signs leading up to the failure that there was a problem" extract from ABC News Story Investigations continue into deadly dam collapse.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has ordered a report into the Bedford Weir. Premier Anna Bligh told the ABC "We are really at a loss to understand what's happened here but investigators are on the scene now, looking at what may have caused this problem. If there's anything here that we can learn on the security of other water storages then of course we've got an obligation to do so".

A report will be prepared for the Queensland coroner.

For the full ABC Story and other related stories go to


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