Sarah Louise Fitzpatrick from Cappakeel near Emo was injured when a branch of a tree fell on the taxi she was travelling in on Friday night in Melbourne.
Mary Ellen Molloy, a 26-year-old nurse from Ardara in Donegal, was killed instantly while Sarah Louise was injured. Another friend, Aoife Sheridan, escaped uninjured as did the taxi driver.
All three girls were working together as nurses in Melbourne.
Sarah Louise (25) is a past student of Mountmellick Community School. She is a daughter of Seamus and Lena Fitzpatrick.
Seamus is well-known in the athletics community and has competed at a very high level for Portlaoise and North Laois AC in weight throwing events.
The girls were involved with the St Kevin’s GAA club in Melbourne and a friend of the girls has set up a Go Fund Me page to assist the families at this time.
Over €60,000 has been raised already with almost 1,800 donations in total.
The Age newspaper reported on the accident and said that the fallen branch could have been the result of the sweltering temperatures in Melbourne that peaked at 43.5 degrees on Friday.
“It can very much be the resultt of heat stress,” said Tim Machau, a senior arborist in Melbourne.
— Nine News Melbourne (@9NewsMelb) December 21, 2019
“Trees do perspire and sweat like most living things and every living thing needs water.
“When they’re excessively sweating or releasing water out of their systems, they’re also being drained of their good nutrients, and it is a problem … a branch can weaken or fail.”
The Age also documented a number of similar incidents of falling branches causing accidents in recent months.