Boy fights for life af­ter wild storm top­ples tree

NT News - - NEWS -

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

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