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Man killed by falling tree in Federal as wild weather lashes northern NSW

By Donna Harper, Thursday October 11, 2018 - 11:08 EDT
ABC image
The fig tree crushed a cabin near Byron Bay, with the region receiving 70km/h winds. - ABC

A man has died after a tree crushed his home during severe storms and wild weather which battered several areas in northern New South Wales.

A neighbour called police around 7:00pm yesterday after they saw a large fig tree had fallen onto a cabin on Kings Road in the town of Federal, near Byron Bay.

Emergency services found the 65-year-old occupant dead inside the cabin.

A report is being prepared for the coroner.

Chief Inspector Gary Cowan said it was not clear whether a lightning strike caused the tree to fall, but crime scene officers would inspect the location today.

"There was heavy rain at the time and there were gusting winds," he said.

"Hopefully by this afternoon we'll know a lot more."

There was nothing the neighbour could have done to save the man, Chief Inspector Cowan said.

"She only lives a matter of metres away from his location and unfortunately the house was completely crushed by the time they got there."

The man lived alone with a dog at the rear of the main premises of the property.

"It's very sad," Chief Inspector Cowan said.

Jenni North, from the State Emergency Service, said there were more than 20 calls for help during the storms.

"The reports were widespread, down from Coffs Harbour to the Queensland border and a couple of jobs on the Tablelands there, but they were fairly broad," she said.

"At this stage we haven't had any reports of any significant damage, with mostly the jobs being leaking roofs some sand bagging and some trees down."

The storms have now passed but the region is still experiencing heavy downpours in some areas.

There have also been power outages in the Tweed, Yamba and North Lismore areas.

The Bureau of Meteorology yesterday warned residents of damaging winds, heavy rainfall and large hail around 6:00pm.

At Lismore Airport, the winds reached about 60 kilometres per hour, with gusts of up to 70 kilometres per hour.

Many residents further south also reported significant hail, including in Coffs Harbour, where locals shared images online of stones the size of marbles.

While Sydney has lately been spared major storm activity, the city is enduring a wet week, with high chances of showers forecast every day.

In the state's central west, storms dumped heavy falls around Canowindra, Eugowra, and Forbes.

The major road between Forbes and Eugowra was closed for hours due to flooding and ice.

Josh Crosby, from Crosbys Angus at Canowindra, said he received about 65 millimetres, filling up a dam that had long been empty.

"It will make a lot of difference," he said.

"We'll get some summer grasses growing and some lucerne. It's growing every minute, it's really responding."


© ABC 2018

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