Mother's panic as tree crushes car with baby inside

NOOSA resident Penelope Richards was trying to escape falling branches at her caravan park last Thursday when the wild storm from ex-Cyclone Debbie sent a tree crashing onto her car.

She'd just strapped her one-year-old baby inside, and for frantic minutes until she had cleared the branches she couldn't see whether her child was alive.

A tree fell on Penelope Richards' car with her baby inside during the storm from ex-Cyclone Debbie last Thursday.
A tree fell on Penelope Richards' car with her baby inside during the storm from ex-Cyclone Debbie last Thursday. Contributed

"The storm came through, she could hear the branches breaking around her and a tree fell on her caravan," her sister Trisha Richards-Scott said.

"She took her one-year-old and put her in the car and as they were in the car the tree came down on top of her.

"She frantically ripped all the trees down that she could get through."

Trisha said she first heard what happened to Penelope when someone knocked on her door the next morning.

"The next morning after the storm on Thursday...somebody came to me, knocking on my door saying my sister had been in an accident," she said.

"I called around every single hospital and found her at a friend's place."

Penelope had dislocated her knuckles in the process of ripping heavy branches off the car.

"She was crying and in a lot of pain. There was glass all over the car.

"The fact her baby ended up without any scratches is beyond me really. She had shattered glass everywhere."

Now the single mum, who lives in a caravan, is without a car - and Trisha is appealing for help.

"She spent everything she had just getting a little home for herself and a car, and it was pretty much destroyed in the storm," she said.

Penelope lives with one of her three children in a caravan park at Noosa. Her daughters were born premature and she'd spent a lot of time with her baby in hospital, Trisha said.

In a post on Facebook Trisha appealed for someone to sell her a car for her sister.

"My sister lost her car in the storm - she has no money and no insurance, (and) desperately needs a cheap but sound car," she posted.

Trisha is a musician and works for a tiling company, and said $500 was all she could afford.

To get in touch with Trisha, find her on Facebook by searching Trisha Richards-Scott.

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