Kingscliff man hit by lightning
By GARY SMART
A MAN was in a critical condition in Tweed Heads Hospital last night after being struck by lightning at Kingscliff.
The man, in his 40s, was thought to have been standing on the observation deck of the Paradiso apartment and retail complex in Marine Parade when fierce storms hit the area late yesterday.
Kingscliff resident Nick Monk, who lives in a house behind the Paradiso, said he was looking out of his kitchen window about 6.40pm when 'the whole place lit up'.
"There was a huge flash and then I heard the loudest bang. It scared the crap out of me," he said.
Mr Monk said the next thing he knew someone was screaming from the top of the Paradiso for an ambulance.
"I don't know who it was, but there was screaming, and I was told to run and grab the ambos," he said.
"I yelled out to my flatmate to call, but the Kingscliff ambulance station is only 50 metres up the road so I ran there."
He said ambulance officers responded immediately and were at the building by the time he had walked back.
Police and Volunteer Rescue Association members were also quickly on the scene.
The man was brought down from the top of the building on a stretcher about an hour later.
Mr Monk said he was certain the Paradiso had been hit by lighting.
"Some drainpipes run down the back of the building," he said. "About 20 metres up, behind the downpipe, is a big black burn mark about 30cm in diameter. It looks like it's gouged out a hole about an inch deep as well." Earlier at 4pm a man came off his motorbike at Whiporie during heavy rain and was taken to Lismore Base Hospital with a suspected broken arm and leg.
SES divisional control Scott Hanckel said the storms came in from the Tablelands and tracked in a north-easterly direction from Coraki to Ballina.
Mr Hanckel said the last of the storms went to sea across Tweed Heads.
"Ballina and Alstonville areas were the most affected," he said.
Mr Hanckel said there was a tree down on the west bound lane of the Bruxner Highway on the Alstonville cutting.
SES crews also assisted a number of places with roof damage and fallen trees in Lismore, South Gundurimba, Woodburn and Casino.
Ballina police were called to attend two accidents.
Two people were taken to Ballina Hospital after two cars collided at 3.50pm on the Pacific Highway a kilometre south of the Wardell Bridge.
There was a second car accident at Angels Beach, East Ballina, however no one was injured.