Geoff Reid lives across the road on Vallely Street, Freshwater. PICTURE: STEWART McLEAN
Geoff Reid lives across the road on Vallely Street, Freshwater. PICTURE: STEWART McLEAN

Woman dies after being crushed under palm tree

A DARWIN woman visiting her daughter in Cairns has died in hospital after she was crushed under a palm tree.

Vallely St resident Geoff Reid said the wind gusts had been hammering the quiet Freshwater suburb on the day of the freak accident last Thursday.

"I was working on my car, actually, and I heard a crack … and thought oh God that sounds like a tree," he said.

Just moments before Mr Reid had seen the woman standing out the front of the units, near the road, waiting to be picked up by a friend.

Believed to be from Darwin, she was staying with her daughter who was a resident at the unit block.

"There's bullets of wind coming through," said Mr Reid who lives opposite the address­.

"I walked out and had a look and saw the tree lying across the ground. The fronds were out towards the road."

As he turned to walk back into his yard, Mr Reid said he heard a whimpering noise but initially though it was a bird trapped under the tree.

"I walked over, looked over the tree and saw this lady lying there," he said.

He used his first aid training to make sure there was no more danger and that her airways­ were clear.

He yelled for his wife to call an ambulance while another neighbour brought the woman a blanket.

Mr Reid said when he tried to get an initial response from the woman, she was just whimpering in pain.

"Then she kept saying, I can't breathe … and kept wanting to move," he said.

Mr Reid tried to keep her still and calm while the ambulance was on its way.

The palm tree was pinning­ her ankle.

Mr Reid said he and others helped firefighters shift the tree so paramedics could reach the woman. He said the tragic incident had left him in shock.

"You just don't think something like that will happen," he said. "When I went over and saw her I thought, oh my God."

Neighbours said the foxtail palm had been planted when the unit block was built about 23 years ago.

A Cairns Hospital spokeswoman yesterday confirmed the woman had died.

News Corp Australia


GALLERY: Rain can't stop riders at Rocky Rumble

GALLERY: Rain can't stop riders at Rocky Rumble

Dozens of riders captured in hotly contested races

Young Rocky-based apprentice jockey hospitalised after fall

Young Rocky-based apprentice jockey hospitalised after fall

He was several hundred metres into trial when the incident happened

Local Partners