Boy fights for life after wild storm topples tree
A QUEENSLAND boy is fighting for life after being hit by a falling tree not far from where a young mum was forced to use her body to save her baby from a devastating hailstorm.
The boy was trapped beneath a large tree that fell on him in storm-ravaged Coolabunia, one of the South Burnett communities hit hard by a line of super-cell storms and tornadoes on Thursday.
Two four-wheel drives were needed to get the tree off the boy, who was flown to hospital in a critical condition with injuries from head to toe, paramedics said.
Authorities expect the damage bill from Thursday’s wild weather to be hefty, with crops wiped out, roofs torn from homes and the power network hit.
Hailstones as big as tennis balls fell in some places.
Young mum Fiona Simpson believes her fourmonth-old daughter could have died in their car had she not used her own body to shield the baby when huge hail broke their windscreen.
“I looked down and I could see she was screaming but I couldn’t even hear her, that’s how loud it was,” she told the ABC, adding the hail struck with such force it “shredded” her grandmother’s skin.
Ms Simpson and her grandmother suffered cuts and severe bruising but her baby escaped with just some bumps to her head.
Talks are underway to determine if the hard-hit South Burnett region should be declared a disaster zone.
At Blackwater, in central Queensland, winds gusted to 144km/h, a wind speed associated with a Category 2 cyclone.
Queensland Dairy Farmers president Brian Tessmann said the storm’s fury at his Coolabunia farm was like nothing he’d ever seen, with winds tearing the roofs from his home and dairy.
He said it was nothing short of bedlam as his house lost its roof, forcing him to hold doors shut as he watched debris swirl around inside its walls.
Emergency workers clear a road after a falling tree crushed a car and brought down power lines