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Sydney weather: One man dead as wild weather brings down walls, trees, power lines

Wednesday August 16, 2017 - 17:40 EST
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Workers from a nearby worksite gather following the accident in Carlingford. - ABC

A man has died following a wall collapse on a building site in Sydney's north-west as wild wind gusts bring down trees and powerlines across parts of the city.

Weather conditions kept emergency services busy with calls for help, residents were without power in a number of suburbs, and transport was affected across Sydney and parts of the state.

Police said a 30-year-old man was trapped when a wall, which was under construction, was blown over in the wind in Carlingford about 10:00am.

The man reportedly went into cardiac arrest, however paramedics were unable to save him.

Inspector Duncan White from the Parramatta unit of Fire and Rescue NSW said officers arrived at the scene to find the structure collapsed.



"They found one victim who had been removed from the rubble prior to their arrival. On arrival they immediately started CPR on that person," he said.

"I think whenever we have adverse weather conditions we need to take some extra precautions, especially if you're moving around or working in an area that can be impacted by weather conditions."

Construction worker Binh Nguyen pulled the man from the rubble and said his injuries "looked scary".

"I called and no answer," he said.

Mr Nguyen said he and the man came to work together each morning.

"He was a very good man," he said.



Inspector White said there had been "fairly significant" structural damage but he was hesitant to speculate on the cause of the collapse.

"We are waiting for an engineer to arrive and our guys will work in consultation with the engineer to make sure it's safe," he said.

Mario Calderone lives nearby and rushed out when he heard the wall collapse.

"The building fell and the construction fell because of the wind and it came down because the skeleton wasn't built around it... and a few of the builders were on the site," he said.

"I just heard this big bang and was trying to work out what it was and I rushed down here

Another fights for life after wall collapse at Kellyville



In a separate incident, a 19-year-old male construction worker suffered significant head injuries after a brick wall collapsed on him at a building site in Kellyville.

Paramedics treated him at the scene and he was taken to Westmead Hospital in a critical condition.

It is understood the construction worker was pulled unconscious by co-workers from underneath the pile of bricks, which collapsed during highly windy conditions.

Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union NSW State Secretary Brian Parker said what happened today was "absolutely appalling".

"Everyone knows about August winds, things have got to be braced,' he said.

"When you've got structures sitting in the air, such as brickwork, sitting there not being braced or structurally tied, the fact of the matter is its going to fall over."



Mr Parker believes the 19-year-old man was from Pakistan on a student visa and had no industry experience, induction card or safety education.

He said there was a total lack of regulation when it came to workplace health and safety, despite the Housing Industry Association claiming the sector was too heavily regulated.

"We've had two brick walls that have come down on workers in one day... one's dead and one is in a very bad way in hospital and may not even last the night.

"Something needs to be done or we will continue to see more deaths and serious injuries to workers.

"We're not talking about toffee apples here."

Mr Parker implored the State Government and SafeWork to halt self-regulation.

"We need a tough cop on the beat," he said.

Winds of up to 80kph at airport



The State Emergency Service [SES] has had more than 140 calls for help to mainly to deal with fallen trees, powerlines and roof damage caused by strong winds.

Many of the calls to the SES have been from Gosford, Hornsby, Kur-ring-gai, Mt Druitt and the Hills area.

Spokeswoman Terri Langendam said the damaging winds had also extended into the Central West and Hunter regions.

"The Bureau of Meteorology has indicated that the winds are likely to persist so we have volunteers on standby to respond to any calls for help," she said.

"We are asking residents to be prepared as well by tying down loose items, keeping your car away from trees and powerlines."

Earlier, one of three northbound lanes are closed on Warringah Road at Valley Road due to a fallen tree.

The NSW Bureau of Meteorology said there had been wind gusts of up to 80 kilometres per hour at Sydney Airport and isolated gusts elsewhere across the city.

A severe weather warning was issued for damaging winds on the South Coast, Central Tablelands, Southern Tablelands, Snowy Mountains as well as Wollongong and Nowra in the Illawarra and Katoomba in the Blue Mountains.

The bureau said winds of 60kph to 70kph with gusts in excess of 90kph were expected until tonight.



Sydney Trains said Inner West and South services were returning to normal after a tree was caught in the overhead wires at Homebush earlier.

Trains have also resumed on the South Coast Line between Thirroul and Waterfall after a tree fell on the track.

In Granville, in Sydney's west, power lines were down near Redfern Street.

Electricity provider Ausgrid said strong winds have been hitting parts of the network and warned people to stay clear of fallen powerlines.

Parts of Sydney's northern suburbs and the Central Coast experienced power outages earlier today but electricity has been almost completely restored.


- ABC

© ABC 2017

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