Mother Puts Her Life On The Line To Protect Her Baby
When hailstones smashed through her car window during a super storm that ripped through the sunshine state, Fiona Simpson had just one thought. To protect her child.
The gigantic hailstones smashed through the rear window of her car, showering her young baby with glass and ice.
Simpson suffered serious bruising when she dived into the back seat to protect her child. Some reports on Thursday said the hailstones lashing southern Queensland were the size of tennis balls.
The pain barely crossed her mind, Simpson told Ten Eyewitness News.
"I couldn’t focus on the pain, all I could focus on was just laying over the top of her and protecting her from the hail, there wasn’t really time to worry about anything else," she said on Friday.
The powerful super storm and consequent tornado hit Tansey, west of Gympie at about 3pm on Thursday. Power was cut off, trees were uprooted and houses were destroyed.
Simpson was driving in Kingaroy with her baby and her grandmother when the tornado hit. The hail -- some reportedly the size of tennis balls -- became so heavy that it smashed through the car window.
“(The window) just blew out all in one go, just glass went everywhere in the car, so I just took off my seatbelt, climbed through the back and just laid on top of her, hoping to wait the storm out,” she said.
With her back, arms and head exposed, the relentless hail left Simpson's badly bruised, with welts from the hail covering her entire back.
"I've learnt my lesson, never drive in a hail storm," she later wrote on Facebook.
Despite her efforts, Simpson's baby didn't come away unscathed. The child's head was also injured from the hail, but nowhere near as badly as mum.
A major cleanup operation is now underway in the affected region.
Roofs were ripped from homes, trees were uprooted and the SES received more than 330 calls for help overnight. This number is expected to rise throughout Friday.
There have been no fatality reports at this stage.
"We are very experienced in dealing with these sorts of emergencies -- the most important thing is that we haven't had loss of life," Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford told the ABC.
The town centres of Kingaroy and Murgon were badly affected by the storm.
Emergency response crews are expected to continue to assess the level of damage to homes and surrounding areas before forecast rain is expected to hit on Friday afternoon.
For more on this story watch Ten Eyewitness News first at 5pm.
Contact Siobhan at firstname.lastname@example.org