VIDEO: Mum pinned by falling tree in playground
GYMPIE mum Sally Rooks thought her children were dead as she struggled to free herself from the branches of the massive fig tree that fell on her yesterday afternoon.
It also fell on the normally busy Nelson Reserve children's playground, luckily unused at the time.
"I heard a cracking sound and my kids were running towards me and then it knocked me to the ground," Mrs Rooks said.
"I didn't know it was a tree. It hit me on the back of the head.
"It was all black and I was trying to get the branches off me, so I could get out.
"I managed to get my hand above the leaves so people could find me.
"When I realised I wasn't dead, I wondered where my kids were.
"I thought there was going to be a dead child under it," she said, looking at the mess she had just crawled out of.
"I brought the children down to the park after school.
"It happened about 3.15pm."
One of the fig tree's three mature trunks had broken off at ground level. "I'm still getting over thinking my kids were dead," Mrs Rooks said.
Police, ambulance, a Queensland Fire and Emergency Service crew and council workers were quickly on the scene to saw up and remove the tree's tangled branches and its bulky section of trunk.
Mayor Mick Curran arrived soon afterwards to inspect the scene and discuss immediate action with Gympie Regional Council experts.
They are likely to erect barriers around the remaining two-thirds of the tree to keep people out of any danger zone while arborists investigate.