Camper killed after being struck by falling gum tree

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Gum tree death at national park
Tragedy ... a man died when a gum tree fell on his 4WD. PIC: Claytons Towing/Gympie Times

The dangers that gum trees can pose to travellers has one again been highlighted by the tragic death of a camper in a national park west of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

The ABC reports that the man aged in his early 20s was killed after a large gum tree fell on him in the Conondale National Park on Friday.

Police said the man from the Brisbane Valley region was on a camping trip with friends and stopped to fix a problem with a four-wheel drive vehicle when a large gum tree fell over. It landed on the vehicle and also hit the man as he stood nearby. He died at the scene. Police said a report would be prepared for the coroner.

This is certainly not the first tragic gum tree accident to affect campers, visitors to national parks, or even caravanners driving along highways.

Experts warn that trees can drop limbs, or entire trees can fall, without warning and at any time. However, they may be particularly prone to dropping a limb or falling when they are stressed by events such as high wind, extreme temperature, or heavy rain. Campers need to be aware that falling tree limbs may bounce against other limbs, and swing out well beyond the edge of the tree’s canopy.

A few years ago, a 33-year-old Melbourne woman was killed when a tree branch fell on her at a campsite at Boorhaman, north of Wangaratta. Another camper — a woman in her 40s — was also trapped under the branches of the red gum tree, but was pulled to safety and escaped with minor injuries.

Similarly, a couple staying near the Bluewater Caravan Park in Townsville a few years suffered serious injuries after a tree fell on their caravan.

• Have you ever had a gum tree ‘scare’ or worse? Comment below.

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