Tourists watch in horror as car rolls off barge and sinks in Australia

Backpacker Chloe Swift posted video and photos of the incident to her Facebook page.
Backpacker Chloe Swift posted video and photos of the incident to her Facebook page.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/CHLOE SWIFT

A group of tourists was left with that sinking feeling after looking on helpless as their car rolled off a barge along the Australian coast.

The shocking moment was captured by backpacker Chloe Swift, who posted the footage to Facebook.

No one was inside the rented 4x4 SUV, according to Australia’s ABC News.

However,  "quite a few phones, debit cards, passports and valuables all gone,” Swift posted on Facebook along with her video and photos.

Amid the chatter heard on the video from the tourists aboard the vessel, a woman can be heard exclaiming: "All their stuff's in there as well."

Swift told ABC that she was heading to Fraser Island as part of a backpacking group, which rented out several of the vehicles, when the accident happened.

She said the people who on had valuables in the vehicle were devastated.

“There were a lot of girls obviously crying. Their phones and everything are in the car that sunk,” she told the station.

Another woman who was on the boat, Katrina Lawrence, said the incident was "quite bizarre".

She pointed out to the Brisbane Times that a ramp on the back of the barge had not been lifted to prevent such accidents.

She said people tried to stop the vehicle when it first began to slide, but it was no use.

“There was no way they could have grabbed it; it was a slow roll but a heavy car,” she said.

"It skidded along for a bit... and it proceeded to just roll over the back and into the water where it stayed up for about 30 seconds before it sunk down."

There was widespread panic onboard the vessel and concerned patrons rushed to check whether their vehicles were secure, reported the Sydney Morning Herald.

Only one vehicle was lost.

A spokesman for Manta Ray Fraser Island Barges said they were investigating the incident, said a Daily Mail report.

Lawrence said she did not see any barge staff help during the incident, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

A "quite cranky" worker reportedly told passengers to calm down.

In the video, a man can be be heard shouting at people to "f*****g chill out".

Some passengers saw the funny side – Marty Leishman shared the video on Facebook with the caption: "Ferry to Fraser Island... check, Food and beer... check, Handbrake.... oops".