Man drowns near spillway

FIREFIGHTERS urge swimmers to take care during the holidays following the drowning of a man in the Brisbane River near Fernvale.

Queensland Fire and Rescue swift water rescue technicians were called to an area about 100m downstream from the Spillway Common, after a man aged in his 40s disappeared beneath the surface of the river about 5pm on December 31.

With some direction from police, firefighters managed to find the man's body and retrieve it from relatively shallow water, but he was dead at the scene.

Fire and Rescue Station Officer Phil Paff said the area near Wivenhoe Dam where the man drowned was popular with swimmers but people needed to be aware of the potential dangers.

It is believed the man was a tourist who was swimming with a group of friends when he ran into trouble.

"Since the 2011 floods it is totally different underneath the water there," Mr Paff said.

"That is an area where firefighters do a lot of their training and it can be treacherous with hazards underneath the water."

The man's drowning death was one of several across southeast Queensland during the Christmas/New Year period involving tourists.