Video footage captures the ute bobbing in the surf, as several locals and bystanders enter the water to assist the man and his passenger.
Brisbane resident Bruce Howe, who was visiting Rainbow Beach with his wife, filmed the scene, as waves swept the ute onto nearby rocks, and then thrashed it in the surf.
“Most of the locals went down and tried to help,” Mr Howe said.
“There’s not much they can do in that situation but people were trying to help unload the truck, belongings, surf boards and stuff like that.”
The owner of the ute struggled to get the vehicle ashore.
“They were in a bit of a panic trying to save the car of course its probably an $80,000 car,” Mr Howe said.
He said the ute became submerged around 5pm yesterday, with futile missions to remove it lasting into nightfall.
“By then we knew the car wasn’t going anywhere,” he said.
On Stradbroke island, eight metre waves were recorded, and on the Gold Coast, every beach was closed prompting stark warnings from life guards and authorities to avoid the water.
Mr Howe said the owners and volunteers abandoned their mission after several hours, returning to the beach at low tide early around 3am today to retrieve the ute.
“I probably wouldn’t have driven down there because of the big tides we had,” he said.
On several other Queensland beaches today, beach-goers ignored warning signs, braving the violent surf, as clean ups continued from yesterday’s king tide.
Lifeguards were busy urging residents to stay out of the water, or to stay at ankle depth, as unpredictable waves and currents turned beaches to whitewash.
The Gold Coast’s chief lifeguard Chris Maynard said those knowingly entering the water of closed beaches were endangering themselves, and those who may have to rescue them.
“You don’t want unnecessary things happening where lifeguards have to go out but also others might go in to try and help,” he said.
Easing conditions as the former cyclone weakens could see beaches reopen tomorrow, but heavy rains are expected.
“We’ll reassess in the morning,” Mr Maynard said.
On Stradbroke island, near Brisbane dozens, of volunteers came armed with shovels to help deal with the aftermath of the egregious tides.
“Everyone just turned up with a smile and a shovel and sandwiches. We think we filled 12 to 1300 sandbags,” volunteer Katherine Wall said.
In Cleveland, near Brisbane, some areas have become flooded as salt water entered the streets.
Meteorologist Harry Clark said some areas could see 100mm of rain in 24 hours, but the movements of the tropical low are unpredictable.
Two states battered by powerful king tide and dangerous surf
“Depends on the movement of Seth over the next few days, which is still uncertain.”

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