10 May 2023

UPDATE: Truck removed after rescue chopper airlifts driver from Archer River

| Matt Nicholls
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A DUMP truck located near the Archer River causeway has managed to drag away the Wild Cape Cafe truck stuck on the causeway, ensuring traffic will be able to get through when the road re-opens.

It has also prevented the truck from being washed downstream and could also provide hope that the tens of thousands of dollars in stock on board could be salvaged.

The recovery mission happened late on Thursday afternoon.

EARLIER:A rescue chopper has airlifted a Mapoon man to safety after he attempted to cross the flooded causeway on Thursday morning.

Police said the man defied the road closures and was travelling back to Mapoon when he drove across the causeway and got stuck about two-thirds of the way across.

Police from Coen attended the scene and were in contact with the driver, believed to be Patrick Akenson, the owner of the Wild Cape Cafe and manager of the Mapoon Store.

Because of the river conditions, police said it was safer to deploy the rescue helicopter from Thursday Island, rather than attempt to get him out of the cabin via boat. The chopper arrived around 3pm on Thursday and winched him from the truck before flying to Weipa.

Patrick Akenson and his wife Lou with their truck in Mapoon late last year.

On the same day, an overloaded truck got bogged on the PDR north of Hann River Roadhouse.

Cape York Weekly understands the truck was headed to Bamboo Station.

Again, the truck driver was driving against the PDR’s wet season load limit of 5 tonnes.

Cape Acting Inspector Rob Campbell said drivers needed to follow the road limits and closures.

The overloaded truck got bogged on the PDR north of Hann River Roadhouse.

“We posted a photo of the Archer River a couple of days ago on our police blog and the river level is the exact same height now as it was then,” he said.

“I can’t say this enough. If it’s flooded, forget it.”

Acting Inspector Campbell said it was likely the driver of the truck at Archer River would be charged.

“There’ll be an investigation and we’ll likely put something up for prosecution,” he said.

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