Holidaymakers evacuated from Heron Island arrive at Gladstone on Thursday.
Holidaymakers evacuated from Heron Island arrive at Gladstone on Thursday. Luka Kauzlaric

Heron Island evacuated after generator fire cuts power

FAMILIES who had planned to holiday on Heron Island between Christmas and New Year have had to cancel their plans after a generator fire forced guests to evacuate the popular resort.

Heron Island Resort owner Delaware North said the fire broke out late on Christmas Day.

While the blaze was quickly contained and no staff or guests were injured, damage to the generator cut off access to water, power and plumbing on the island, 80km north-east of Gladstone.

"All of our guests and staff are safe and there is no damage to the accommodation," a spokeswoman said.

A total of 279 guests and most of the Heron Island staff were transferred to Gladstone in two ferry trips on Thursday.

Gladstone Area Promotion and Development Ltd staff were working with Heron Island Resort to find accommodation for them all.

While some visitors had been "very emotional" about the forced change to holiday plans, GAPDL chief Glenn Churchill said many were glad to be transferred to Seventeen Seventy, Agnes Water and other local destinations.

One evacuee said it was frustrating to lose a day of holiday.

"I'd rather be swimming!" she said.

The shutdown comes at peak time for Heron Island.

"We were very near capacity; it's a very beautiful time to come over," a spokeswoman said. "It's school holidays and turtle season."

"Anyone with bookings for right now will be offered a refund, but if they prefer to rebook we can just do a date change," she said.

It's still not clear when the resort will reopen, and on Friday operators will have to deal with booked guests arriving at Gladstone with no access to Heron Island.

A technical team will decide when the island can reopen.

For information about current bookings, guests can call 1300 233 432 or visit www.heronisland.com.

Evacuated tourists arrive in Gladstone from Heron Island.
Evacuated tourists arrive in Gladstone from Heron Island. Luka Kauzlaric

THURSDAY: Nearly 400 people are being evacuated from a luxury resort on Heron Island, 80km north-east of Gladstone.

A power generator for the island's Great Barrier Reef resort caught fire about 10pm on Wednesday, leaving the island without power, running water and a sewerage system.

While no-one was injured, the 279 guests at the resort and about 110 staff are being evacuated by boat to Gladstone.

"There was a fire in the generator room that was discovered at 10pm last night. There was no damage to accommodation or public spaces and no one was hurt," a Heron Island spokeswoman told the Courier Mail.

"By 2am the Heron Island emergency services team had been working really hard to control it and contain it and that was managed.

"This morning, because the fire was in the generator room it meant there was a loss of power, a loss of water and sanitation.

"And unfortunately that meant the island had to close."

Read the full story here.



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