A YOUNG nurse has tragically died after a tree brunch struck a car she was travelling in.
Mary Ellen Molloy, 26, from County Donegal, Ireland was killed on Friday evening in Melbourne, Australia.
The 26-year-old had been working as a nurse at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
She was travelling home from work with a 25-year-old colleague when the falling branch struck.
Mary Ellen was killed instantly by the blow, with her colleague suffering back and head injuries.
The driver of the car and a male passenger were unharmed.
Devastated colleagues from the Royal Melbourne Hospital released a statement confirming the death of one of their nurses, adding that they were working with friends, family and colleagues of Mary Ellen's through the "heartbreaking loss."
In a tribute from a local Gaelic football club in Donegal, she was described as a "beautiful girl with a permanent smile who lit up every room she walked into".
The statement continued: "We awaken today as a parish, numbed by the news from Australia of the death of Mary Ellen Molloy in Melbourne yesterday evening.
"Her love for her family was always so evident whenever they were together, and we can only imagine the grief that [her family] is feeling at this time.
"As a community we have lost yet another shining light and as ever, we will do whatever we can to assist them at this terrible time.
"God Bless everyone who knew and loved the beautiful girl from Edergole. God Rest you Mary Ellen x."
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Experts say the falling tree branch could be related to sweltering temperatures sweeping Australia at the time.
On the day Mary Ellen's taxi was struck, temperatures had peaked at 43.5 C in Melbourne.
A spokesperson from the Department of Transport spokesman said they were "working closely with Victoria Police to investigate the factors that contributed to the incident".