INCHES FROM DEATH
By JANE GARDNER
AS Mark Dansie stared in disbelief at his crushed Lexus, he couldn't keep the smile off his face.
"I know I shouldn't feel like this right now, but I'm just happy I'm alive," he said.
Only an hour earlier, Mr Dansie was inside his car, face-to-face with a 'tornado', when a large gum branch smashed through the windshield, piercing through the dash and warping the roof.
It had been inches from his head.
Mr Dansie is one of hundreds of people in the Casino to Modanville districts with a story to tell, after a violent storm ripped through the region late on Saturday afternoon.
Residents, emergency workers and business owners in the area spent yesterday clearing debris and surveying the damage to buildings.
The devastating rare super cell thunderstorm carried with it 'tennis ball-sized' hailstones, winds exceeding 120km/h, heavy rain and lightning.
As it approached Modanville, it had already caused havoc in Casino.
Mr Dansie was on his way home from a family picnic at Protesters Falls late on Saturday afternoon with his partner and two children in the car, when the sky at Modanville began to darken.
"We were driving just past Tullera back into Lismore when big hailstones the size of tennis balls started falling," he said.