BRUSH WITH DEATH
By SAMANTHA TURNBULL
ROHAN WILLIAMS felt safe even as a large jacaranda tree came flying through the air towards him in Monday's storms.
The 32-year-old Goonellabah man was driving home from his business, Quick As A Flash, along Lismore's Rotary Drive when a series of 'mini-tornadoes' seemed to chase around his Hyundai FX Coupe.
"My friend Gary, from Kempsey, was in the passenger seat and we felt this energy around us," he said.
"I've never seen anything so violent come from nowhere. Mini tornadoes and gusts of wind were brewing all around the car.
"The force had built up so much and we could feel the power of it. It was just like the eye of the storms in the movie Twister." Then came the tree.
"It was as quick as a breath," said Rohan.
"It was flying 50ft through the air then it hit."
The trunk of the tree landed next to the vehicle blocking both lanes of traffic, while a thick 1.5m-long branch speared through the windscreen.
The branch crashed directly between Rohan and Gary.
"Once we got hit I got out and checked if my mate was OK," said Rohan.
"He had some blood coming out of his leg and started rolling around out of stress in the rain." An ambulance was called to treat Gary for shock, but Rohan said he remained calm through the entire ordeal.
"I felt protected when the impact happened," he said.
However, Rohan said he was not a religious man. He attributed his composure to years of training as a professional golfer in Malaysia in the early 1990s.
"I did a lot of mental preparation for golf where we were taught to push bad energy out of our bodies," he said. "So that's what I did. I feel lucky to be alive. It wasn't my time."
Rohan's $25,000 car was fully insured.