Click, click, crack: Photographer nearly killed in tree fall
A nature photographer faces the possibility of months in a wheelchair after he was nearly killed by a falling tree while shooting at Buderim Falls.
Sunshine Coast dad Shane Farmer, 43, was on his final click of the day when he heard a crack from above.
A waterlogged tree about 4m long came crashing down onto his head and knocked him into rocks and water below.
The crack was the last thing he remembered before he regained consciousness while being stretchered out of the popular walking trial by about 15 emergency service personnel.
Mr Farmer was taken to Sunshine Coast University Hospital in a serious but stable condition about 1pm on Wednesday, February 3.
He sustained four broken ribs, a broken leg, broken shoulder blade, a punctured lung and had a 10cm gash on the back of his head where the 0.5m wide tree struck him.
Mr Farmer said he was in "a lot" of pain days after the ordeal and was still shocked it had unfolded in a place where he'd taken photos "hundreds" of times.
"I was just clicking away and heard a crack, then it was lights out," Mr Farmer said.
"I am very lucky to be alive.
"There was a lot of blood.
"I could have drowned in the water, it could have been so much worse."
Mr Farmer said he may not have survived if it weren't for a group of women nearby who rushed to his aid after the "freak accident".
While his memory was foggy, he said knew the group were able to administer first aid until emergency services arrived.
"I am truly grateful, very lucky they were there," he said.
"I was actually waiting for them to move out of my shot when I heard the crack.
"But when I first arrived, I only saw two other people.
"I am very fortunate and just want to say my heartfelt thanks to them and the emergency services.
"I could have so easily have died."
It took emergency services about 40 minutes to walk Mr Farmer out on stretcher due to the steep and slippery terrain.
The father-of-three and fly-in fly-out worker said he was faced with a long road to recovery after a grim diagnosis from the doctors.
He said it had been a scary time for his wife Melissa and children Lachie, Madax and Lexi.
It's expected it will take at least three months for Mr Farmer to recover.
"I've had surgery on my leg and they stitched up my head," he said.
"But there's nothing they can do about my fractured spine or ribs.
"So I might be in a wheelchair for a few months."
The Coast's photography community have pitched in with a crowd-funded campaign to help raise money for Mr Farmer's recovery and replace his camera gear.
"I love them all for doing that," he said.
"I was about three seconds away from leaving that spot.
"It just wasn't my day."