Ambo's tragic death
WORK colleagues of paramedic Mark Thomas could do nothing to save him after they were called to the scene of his tragic death on Tuesday.
The popular Murwillumbah ambulance officer was killed instantly in a freak farm accident on his day off.
Mr Thomas, who was also prominent in community groups including the Tweed and District Sporting Shooters Association, was struck in the chest by a tree branch while driving a tractor.
Mr Thomas, 50, had been an ambulance officer nearly all his working life, joining the service in 1977 and working for that time from Murwillumbah.
His work colleagues were called to the farm at Dulguigan, north of Murwillumbah, about 12.30pm Tuesday.
Murwillumbah ambulance station manager Grant Prendergast, who attended the scene, said the assignment was “tough”.
“He was slashing out on a block with a tractor and he was struck by a branch,” Mr Prendergast added.
“It hit him in the chest. He was killed instantly.”
Mr Prendergast said Mr Thomas had qualified as a paramedic and used to be ribbed by his workmates over his many years of service.
“We always used to gee him up because he had been in the ambulance service for over 30 years,” he said.
“We'd call him '30-plus' like sunscreen.”
Mr Thomas's sudden death shocked many in Murwillumbah.
He is understood to have been slashing on another landholder's property when the accident occurred.
It is likely to be investigated by NSW Work Cover.
Tweed police inspector Darren Steel described the accident as tragic.
“He had been slashing a paddock. Unfortunately the tractor has come into contact with a tree that has fallen down and caused some crush injuries to him,” Inspector Steel said.
“Unfortunately there was nothing anyone could do.
“I think he had been working in Murwillumbah for some time. Certainly police there, let alone the ambulance officers, knew him and worked with him.”
Last year Mr Thomas earned the temporary nick-name “duck whisperer” from his station mates after rescuing 10 wild baby ducklings from the roof of the Queen Street ambulance station.
He had heard squeaking noises from the roof near where the mother duck had laid a nest and was able to reunite them with their mother in the ambulance station garden.