Tree Falls On Queensland Boy After Wild Storm
A boy is critically ill after being crushed under a large tree during cleanup efforts in the wake of ferocious storms that pelted southeast Queensland causing widepread damage and injuring three people and a baby.
The damage bill from Thursday's wild weather is expected to be hefty, with crops wiped out, animals killed, roofs torn from homes and the power network hit.
Talks are underway to determine if the hard-hit South Burnett region should be declared a disaster zone, with entire crops lost at harvest time, and homes damaged.
As the cleanup began on Friday morning, tragedy struck with an 11-year-old boy pinned under a tree on a property at Coolabunia.
Two four-wheel drives were needed to get the tree off the boy, who was airlifted to the Queensland Children's Hospital in Brisbane in a critical condition.
"(He had) significant injuries, including head, chest abdominal and lower limb injuries," Senior Ambulance Operations Supervisor for the Darling Downs Stephen Johns said.
The boy was hurt not far from where on Thursday a young mother had been forced to use her body to shield her baby when they were caught in the fury of the sudden hailstorm in a car.
Fiona Simpson, who was also travelling with her grandmother, believes her four-month-old daughter could have died as hail broke their windscreen while leaving Nanango.
"I looked down and I could see she was screaming but I couldn't even hear her, that's how loud it was," she told the ABC, adding the hail struck with such force that it "shredded" her grandmother's skin.
Simpson and her grandmother suffered cuts and severe bruising but her baby escaped with just some bumps to her head.
Meanwhile primary producers have been hit hard, with many writing off their crop yields for the rest of the year due to the sudden tempest.
Queensland Dairy Farmers president Brian Tessmann said the storm's fury at his Coolabunia farm was like nothing he'd ever seen, with winds tearing the roofs from his home and dairy.
He said it was nothing short of bedlam as his house lost its roof, forcing him to hold doors shut as he watched debris swirl around inside its walls.
A chicken farm at Tansey had 800 birds killed by hail, while a number of horses and other livestock were injured at multiple properties.
Stone-fruit farmer Shane Francis says his farm lost peaches and nectarines worth $2 million in 20 minutes of fury. They are not insured and also lost part of their crop to similar storms on Boxing Day last year.
"It's a little bit tough copping two whacks," Mr Francis told AAP.
Emergency crews responded to nearly 500 jobs during the storms, with reinforcements sent from Brisbane to help with the response.
About 1000 insurance claims for storm damage have already been lodged, with more expected as the full extent of the damage becomes clear.