Toppling gum tree almost hits car

WHEN Dave Smedley was checking the rain gauge at Cooberrie Park Animal Sanctuary yesterday morning he heard a terrific cracking noise.

He looked up to see a large gum tree just 20 metres away fall over, taking out their fence, nearby power lines and narrowly missing a vehicle travelling on Stones Road.

His son Kieron said there had been a big storm that came through the Woodbury region during the night.

“There was torrential rain and hard wind that blew everything about,” Kieron said.

But the last thing they expected was a big healthy looking gum tree to just topple over around 8.45am.

“It was a monster of a tree.

“We are just shocked, really.”

And shocked was the way Ruth Lane felt when the tree fell just two metres in front of her little Hyundai Getz.

Travelling behind her was her partner Jim Irbine who saw the tree falling.

“She had to break heavily – I’d hate to see what would have happened if it hit her.”

While it was a lucky escape for Ruth, it was not so lucky for the powerlines, which snapped, causing the loss of power to over 400 Ergon customers in the Woodbury and Farnborough region.

Bob Pleash, Corporate Communications Manager for Ergon Energy, said his crews were quick to isolate the problem and the majority of power was restored just before 10am.

He said the extent of the damage meant that 122 customers in the immediate area were without power for most of the day yesterday.

With three sections of the power pole brought down and a number of crossarms broken, Mr Pleash said they needed time to repair them.

While Ergon were doing their repairs, the Cooberrie Park crew were busy doing a clean-up of the local attraction, made to close its doors to the public for the second time in three years.

Kieron said they were very grateful to have been provided with a back-up generator from Ergon to operate equipment including refrigeration and emergency heating.

The trees in the park, including the tree that fell, had been checked and trimmed a week ago. “We are just lucky it didn’t hit any of the animal areas.”



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