Evacuation advice 'ignored' in deadly Tasmanian floods
A regional state emergency services head has admitted it was a mistake to not order the evacuation of a Tasmanian town where an elderly woman died after being trapped by rising floodwaters.
An inquest is examining the death of Latrobe resident Mary Allford, 75, who was one of three people killed during flooding in parts of the state in mid-2016.
Her body was found in her home on the morning of June 7.
Wayne Richards, then SES northwest regional manager, told the inquest he didn't recall a major flood warning being issued by the Bureau of Meteorology at 4.16pm on June 5 for the Mersey River, which runs through Latrobe.
He agreed it was "highly likely" he was focusing on requests for assistance and did nothing to respond to the warning.
Lawyer representing Tasmania Police, Rebecca Munnings, said two of Mr Richards' SES colleagues had suggested to him that evening Latrobe should be evacuated.
Mr Richards indicated he was seeking more information before ordering an evacuation.
"Specifics from the bureau, which you have now indicated was there (that) I hadn't received or hadn't taken sufficient acknowledgement of," he told the inquest on Thursday.
Mr Richards accepted the decision to not order an evacuation was the wrong one.
"In hindsight, yes," he said.
Mr Richards said he usually received warnings from the bureau through email or his computer which he wasn't actively monitoring.
A number of messages on his phone, which could have been the bureau trying to contact him, were left "undealt with".
Mr Richards didn't dispute suggestions he told a colleague "I don't know what to do with floods" and words to the effect of "I want to go into the toilets, lock the door and not come out".
"(That was) very much a tongue-in-cheek, light-hearted comment," he said.
The flooding across 19 local government areas damaged some 130 properties.
A separate inquest has been held into the deaths of newspaper delivery driver Peter John Watson at Evandale and Ouse farmer Trevor Foster, whose body wasn't found until two years after the floods.