Whian Whian logger critical after falling branch hits him

A LOGGING contractor was airlifted to the Gold Coast hospital in a critical condition yesterday after he was hit on the head by a branch at Whian Whian.

Logging of blackbutt trees on a Whian Whian Rd private property was approved by the NSW Forestry Corporation and the Environment Protection Authority.

Richmond Local Area Command's Inspector Nicole Bruce said the 55-year-old man was seriously injured when the dead branch fell from the rainforest canopy just after 1pm.

NSW Forestry Corporation logging contractor Darryl Armfield said the Kyogle man was hit by the branch near the boundary of the logging site.

"He appeared to have suffered very serious head injuries," he said.

Mr Armfield said reports the man was pinned under the branch for some time were false.

Protesters who set up camp near the entrance to the property on Whian Whian Rd have been blockading vehicles for more than two weeks, claiming threatened species in the Nightcap National Park were not being protected.

When police rescue arrived at the site protesters initially thought officers were there to remove people from trees.

Once they found out there had been an incident on the site, they cleared the way to allow police and emergency service vehicles to get in.

"The majority of protesters assisted police to clear the access track to the injured person, however, a vehicle and a temporary gate that were erected to prevent access were unable to be moved," Insp Bruce said.

"It wasn't till a four-wheel drive ambulance arrived that paramedics were able to get to the man."

Paramedics treated the man at the scene before he was transported by ambulance to the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter, which had landed nearby.

Insp Bruce said detectives were sent to the scene to investigate the incident and WorkCover had been notified.

She said at this stage police were not treating the incident as suspicious.

The man remained in a critical condition in Gold Coast hospital last night.



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