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Queensland storm clean-up: Schoolboy injured 'head to toe' after being hit by falling tree

Saturday October 13, 2018 - 10:58 EDT
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An ambulance and RACQ Lifeflight helicopter the at the Kingaroy property where the boy was hurt. - ABC

An 11-year-old schoolboy remains is in a critical condition after a tree fell and trapped him at a property near Kingaroy, where a massive clean-up continues after a tornado and severe thunderstorms wreaked havoc on Thursday.



Emergency workers said bystanders used a four-wheel-drive to move the tree off the child before paramedics arrived at the scene near Coolabunia just after 11:00am on Friday.

It is understood his family was present at the time of the accident.

Queensland Ambulance said the boy suffered "multiple serious injuries from head to toe, including head, neck, chest, abdomen, pelvis and lower limbs".

The boy was been flown to the Queensland Children's Hospital after being treated at the scene.

QAS senior operations supervisor Stephen Johns said moving the tree quickly was critical in saving the boy.

"[They] have done a tremendous job under the circumstances to ensure the tree was removed from the patient to protect him from any further injury."

Mr Johns warned others clearing their properties to be wary of dangers underneath debris.

Storm 'was a monster that's for sure'

Roofs were ripped from homes and sheds, orchards decimated and livestock took fright after the supercell storm tore through the area on Thursday.

Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said there had been more than 360 SES callouts, with the number expected to climb.

"We are very experienced in dealing with these sorts of emergencies — the most important thing is that we haven't had loss of life," he said.

Mr Crawford said crews would spend the day assessing the damage to homes and essential services, ahead of more rain forecast later in the day.



Queensland Dairy Farmers Organisation president Brian Tessmann lost the roof off his home at Coolabunia, south of Kingaroy.

"Within about 15 seconds of that, the roof came off and it was quite bedlam from there trying to hold doors shut and water coming through the ceiling and things flying through the air," Mr Tessman said.

"I saw it leaving through the window as it went in a couple of large pieces."



Shar Stolberg from Wolvi, north-west of Noosa, said she had "never been so scared in [her] life".

"Flash flooding in my creeks and couldn't almost get out after the storm to pick my kid up from school."

"She was a monster that's for sure."

Gympie resident Chris Evans said it was the worst hailstorm he's ever experienced.

"If you stand right beside a jet engine at full revs that's how loud it was."



Close to 10,000 properties struck by the storm remain without power this morning as crews find power poles "snapped like matchsticks" by the violent weather.

Danny Donald from Energex said crews were finding more powerlines and poles down as they travelled through the storm-ravaged areas.

"The damage is so severe on parts of this network — I'm talking poles down, and a lot of wires still down," he said.

"There will be some customers going into the weekend without power.

Animals lost and injured



As well as his house, Brian Tessman's dairy has also been severely damaged and his cows cannot be found.

"It stripped the roof off the majority of the dairy — the newest part of the dairy — and in doing so has taken electric cables and things with it out of the bails so there's quite a bit of work to do there," he said.

"I certainly hope that Ergon has the power back on by the time we've got the bails in a state to operate.

"We will go to generators if they haven't, but at this stage our big concern is getting it fit to operate, and a similar thing with the house."



The Nanango Veterinary Surgery was called out to treat injured livestock, including a horse hit in the eye with hail at Coolabunia.

"We will have a vet out at Booie [this] morning stitching up some poor horses who've been injured," the vet surgery wrote on social media.

"This poor guy at Coolabunia is covered in welts from the hail and has corneal ulceration from hail hitting his eyes."



'It knocks you down': Farmer

Further west the storm caused $2 million damage to Teresa Francis's Devine Fruit orchard in the Kumbia district.

"It started with small hail and then Mother Nature unleashed her fury on us and we started to get the bigger hail with a lot of wind," she said.



"It has damaged pretty much all the fruit on our farm — maybe 95 per cent of this crop.

"We've got one block under new hail netting and hopefully it will be OK.

"Our avocado trees have been hit as well and they were out in flower due to be picked next year."

Another farm belonging to Devine Fruit farm was hit by wild weather on Boxing Day last year.

"It knocks you down — I have stopped crying but there is worse things that can happen — we're all still OK," Ms Francis said.



"We're all still healthy and we'll just get back into it and do a clean up and see what we've got left and go from there."

Melon farmer Terry O'Leary said he was planting a crop of watermelons when the storm rolled in near Chinchilla.

"It intensified pretty quickly and by the time it got here it was, well, biblical would be the only way you could describe it," he said.



"We couldn't see or hear anything ... it was pretty brutal."

Mr O'Leary said his melon crops had been "completely written off", but a neighbouring farm a kilometre away was untouched by the hail.

Kim Lewis, the owner of Cooloola Berries at Wolvi said the impact on the farm was devastating with up to 900kg of blueberries worth about $20,000 stripped.

"The strawberries themselves were just macerated and the plants are all broken and flat."


- ABC

© ABC 2018

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