Sydney man's warning after being struck by falling tree branch at popular beach

·News Reporter
·4-min read

A Sydney man was struck by falling tree branches at a popular beach on Thursday leaving him writhing in pain on the ground.

Now he's warning others to be careful saying "they might not be so lucky".

Alex Laverty was casually walking the length of Manly beach with his headphones on when "a large bunch of branches" fell and hit him.

"I think I was in shock for a bit and felt like I couldn’t move my arm, I thought it was broken," he told Yahoo News Australia.

"I was staggering around a bit and then fell to the ground and a bunch of bystanders ran over to help me".

Alex Laverty arm injury after falling tree branches in Manly beach in Sydney
Alex Laverty was walking on the footpath when the branches fell and grazed his arm at Manly beach in Sydney Source: Facebook

The branches fell from the iconic Norfolk Pines, which have proven troublesome in the past. It's believed there have been numerous reports of branches falling and narrowly missing bystanders.

Mr Laverty told Yahoo that he'd seen fallen branches in the area before but nothing as big as the one that struck him. The incident left a large, raw graze down the side of his arm.

In February, a large branch marginally missed a woman who was inside a gazebo set up under a tree, Manly Observer reported.

And another man was riding his bicycle along the same path when a powerful branch came crashing down.

Locals not surprised: 'An accident waiting to happen'

Following the incident, Mr Laverty shared photos on Facebook as a warning to other locals.

One shows his injured arm with a notable graze. Others show the large pile of tree trimmings that caused it.

"I got off pretty easy but I don’t want others to get hurt," he wrote in the comments. "It's a busy walkway and I doubt it’s the last set of branches that will come down."

People were shocked but not surprised by what happened. One man said it was "an accident waiting to happen."

"I'm really glad you didn't have kids (or anyone, really) with you at the time. I would have been in shock too if this had happened to me," he said.

Others said he was "lucky" the branches grazed his arm, instead of hitting his head.

The Manly local warned others to be careful saying they might not be so lucky. Source: Facebook
The Manly local warned others to be careful saying they might not be so lucky. Source: Facebook

'No need for concern,' says council representative

Earlier this month, Northern Beaches Deputy Mayor Candy Bingham admitted there was "no need for concern" when addressing the dropping branches.

"Norfolk’s are dropping branches all over the place at the moment," she said – but there was a valid reason why.

"Advice from Council's arborist is this is due to the softwood growth which has been promoted by the excessive amount of rain," she wrote in a post on Facebook.

"There has also been some branch drop occurring due to the extra weight with cones attached. No need for concern."

When contacted by Yahoo News Australia about her comments, Ms Bingham confirmed she was "referring to the health of the trees" and said injuries such as Mr Laverty's "are concerning".

"Some of these pines are over 100 years old and to my knowledge, we have not had these issues before, certainly not in recent years," she said.

Mr Laverty said he hopes the Northern Beaches Council "will put up a warning sign or check the trees again".

"I think Manly beach is pretty famous for its pines and it’s a part of our image so I don’t think they should be cut down," he told Yahoo News Australia.

"People should be diverted onto the beach until they can ensure the trees are safe. The next person might not be so lucky," he added.

The falling branches have caused issues in the past with one woman narrowly escaping an injury after a branch fell on her gazebo. Source: Manly Observer.
The falling branches have caused issues in the past with one woman narrowly escaping an injury after a branch fell on her gazebo. Source: Manly Observer.

Series of deaths caused by falling trees in Australia

Previously, a Northern Beaches woman died with two others injured after a wild storm ripped through the area, causing trees and powerlines to come crashing down.

The storm damage took the life of the 70-year-old woman.

And in 2019, a woman was crushed to death by a century-old tree while she was jogging at an inner Melbourne park.

Pictures from the scene show the massive tree, which had been completely uprooted, lying on its side over a footpath.

A Cairns mum suffered the same fate earlier that year when a falling tree hit her car in Far North Queensland.

Her 26-year-old partner was taken to the hospital in a stable condition but the woman, 38-year-old Tammy Machen, died at the scene.

Yahoo News Australia contacted Northern Beaches Council for comment.

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