Logger hit by falling tree branch at Whian Whian dies

UPDATE 10.30am: A LOGGER hit by a falling tree branch at Whian Whian on Wednesday has passed away, the Forestry Corporation has confirmed.

The man was injured when a dead branch fell from a tree during a logging operation on private land at Whian Whian, striking him on the head.

The man was flown to hospital by the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter in a critical condition and passed away last night.

"Our sympathies and thoughts are with this staff member's family at this time," the Forestry Corporation said in a statement, responding to questions from The Northern Star.

"The corporation has arranged for counselling for Forestry Corporation staff in the local area and is offering every assistance it can to the family.

"A full investigation into the incident is underway and it would not be appropriate to say anything further while this investigation is underway."

*****

6am: TWO protesters were allegedly assaulted at a logging site at Whian Whian on Wednesday as tensions escalated after a logging contractor was critically injured by a falling branch.

Inspector Wayne Crotty said police were investigating alleged assaults on two men camping near the entrance to the Whian Whian Rd logging site between 9pm and 11.40pm.

Police received a complaint in relation to the alleged assault of a man camping near a camp kitchen on the site.

Insp Crotty said the 35-year-old man was taken to Lismore Base for treatment.

"About 11.30pm a protester was approached by an unknown person and allegedly punched in the face," he said.

Insp Crotty said the 22-year-old Dunoon man sustained a small cut near his right eye.

He said reports on Facebook that protesters were attacked with planks of wood and had tents slashed were false.

Protesters have camped near the site for more than two weeks, blockading vehicles and claiming threatened species were not being protected.

NSW Forestry Corporation and the Environment Protection Authority have approved logging of blackbutt trees on the private property.

A 55-year-old Forestry Corporation employee who was injured after he was hit in the head by a dead branch that fell from the forest canopy about 1.15pm on Wednesday is in a critical condition at Gold Coast hospital.

Anyone with any information about the alleged assaults is urged to phone Lismore police on 6626 0599 or Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000.



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