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Cockatoo couple killed by falling tree south-east of Melbourne

A camper was killed earlier this year by a tree branch that crashed onto his tent at a Healesville caravan park.

The 44-year-old, from Knoxfield, was alone in his tent at the Big4 Yarra Valley Park Lane Holiday Park on Don Road when the tree branch came down shortly before 6am on March 13. He died at the scene.

Last year, three people were killed by falling trees or branches when a cold front brought intense winds to Victoria on August 27.

Tree incidents in recent years

Over the past two years there have been a rash of deaths and injuries caused by falling trees and branches.

  • July 13, 2019: 64-year-old man crushed to death by a tree on a farm property in Yarrawalla, 233km north of Melbourne.
  • July 14, 2019: Father and son killed after a large gum fell on their car travelling towards Sherbrooke during strong winds.
  • August 9, 2019: Angie Suryadi, a mother of two, was killed after a tree fell on her car on the Black Spur highway in Fernshaw as her family embarked on a snow trip.
  • August 12, 2019: Professor Allison Milner died when a Royal Parade elm fell on her while she was walking to work.
  • August 20, 2019: A 52-year-old mother from Lysterfield and her 10-year-old daughter escaped with their lives after a massive tree branch crushed their car on the Belgrave-Gembrook Road.
  • November 12, 2019: Three primary-school-aged girls taken to hospital after being hit by a falling branch in Parkdale.
  • December 20, 2019: Mary Ellen Molloy, 25, was sitting in the back seat of a moving car in Kings Way, South Melbourne when she was hit and killed by a falling tree limb. Her fellow passenger, Sarah Fitzpatrick, 25, suffered head and back injuries.
  • January 9, 2020: Two people were taken to hospital and two others were hurt after being hit by a falling tree branch in St Kilda.
  • March 8, 2020: Three people died and two were injured after a falling tree hit their car on Sherbrooke Road in Kallista.
  • April 2,2020: Two people injured by a falling gum tree in Templestowe. 
  • August 27,2020: A four-year-old boy killed by a falling tree in Blackburn South.
  • August 27,2020: A Parkdale woman, 36, was killed in Fernshaw when the ute she was travelling it was struck by a falling tree.
  • August 27,2020: A 59-year-old Tecoma man died after a tree fell and crushed his car while he was driving out of a shopping centre car park in Belgrave
  • March 12, 2021: A 44-year-old Knoxfiel man died after his tent at the Big4 Yarra Valley Park Lane Holiday Park in Healesville was hit by a tree branch

Four-year-old Ayan Kapoor was the youngest of the three people killed that Thursday night when he was walking with his father and younger sister near their Blackburn South home, in Melbourne’s east, about 6pm.

About the same time, a 59-year-old Tecoma man was driving out of a shopping centre car park in Belgrave when a tree fell and crushed his car at the intersection of Terrys Avenue and Ena Road. He later died.

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And a Parkdale woman, 36, was in the passenger seat of a ute travelling on the Maroondah Highway in Fernshaw when it was struck by a falling tree about an hour later. She died at the scene.

In August 2019, associate professor Allison Milner, a 36-year-old mother of two from Reservoir, was fatally crushed when a tree collapsed on her on Royal Parade bordering Princes Park in Parkville in Melbourne’s inner-north.

That year a study showed the likelihood of being killed by a falling tree was one in 5.4 million.

With Ashleigh McMillan, Marissa Calligeros and Ben Preiss

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