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Deadly storm: Man dies after tree crushes caravan

Thursday November 29, 2012 - 13:46 EDT

A man has died after a tree fell on a caravan park home during a severe storm that lashed Perth and Western Australia's southern coast.

The incident occurred about 3:00am (AWST) at the Lake Navarino Forest Resort near Waroona, south of Perth.

The manager of the resort, Brad, described the death as a 'freak accident'.

He told the ABC, the tree that hit the home was at least 15 metres tall, and he believes the victim was asleep at the time.

Brad says he was alerted to the incident by other residents in the park.

The victim's body has been removed and a report into the incident will be prepared for the Coroner.

The Department of Environment and Conservation, which leases the park to its current owner, will conduct its own investigation into the incident.

State Emergency Services spokesman Allen Gale says firefighters worked frantically to free the 48-year-old Perth man.

"They engaged a mini excavator at one stage to assist with the removal of the tree. Unfortunately there was one man found inside the caravan and they were unable to save his life," he said.

The SES received more than 200 calls for help overnight as the storm lashed the state's south.

Mr Gale expects there will be many more calls this morning.

"We've had a steady flow of calls coming in overnight, but as people are waking this morning and moving outside to check their properties, we're getting an increased number of calls," he said.

"So we encourage people to check around their property, and be careful of fallen trees and any debris that could be around."

SES crews were called to help as the storm tore roofs off buildings and brought down trees and powerlines, cutting off power to thousands of homes.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services says Avonvale Primary School at Northam received significant structural damage and will be closed today.

Samson Primary School, the Terrace Hotel on St Georges Terrace, and the Beatty Park Aquatic Centre also received significant roof damage.

Beaches along the south-west coast were closed as surf conditions became too dangerous and all ferry services to and from Rottnest Island were cancelled, disrupting the plans of many school leavers.

Wind speeds of up to 100kph were recorded in the Perth metro area.

Western Power says 50,000 customers were blacked out at the height of the storm, but that is down to 6,000.

The weather bureau has now cancelled a severe weather warning for Perth and says conditions will clear in the next few hours.


© ABC 2012

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