Great Britain

Melbourne: young Irish nurse killed when tree branch falls on car

An Irish nurse who “lit up every room” has died in Melbourne after a large tree branch crashed on to a car she was travelling in with two friends, just days before Christmas.

Mary Ellen Molloy was killed when the branch fell on to the car she was travelling in on Kings Way at South Melbourne around 9pm on Friday, and she was rushed to hospital.

Molloy, in her mid-20s from the Irish county of Donegal, had been working as a nurse at the Royal Melbourne hospital.

She had been in the back seat of the car when the tree fell.

Another woman, 25, in the back seat suffered head and back injuries.

The driver, a 38-year-old man from Wallan, and a 25-year-old woman from Balaclava who was a front-seat passenger were uninjured.

“The three girls work as nurses together and are close friends. We are devastated to learn that Mary Ellen Molloy has lost her life, Sarah Fitzpatrick has been injured and requires surgery and fortunately Aoife Sheridan has been unharmed,” a GoFundMe page states.

More than €45,000 have been raised for the families at this “heartbreaking time”.

A Gaelic sporting club from Molloy’s hometown has paid tribute to the “shining light”.

“Mary Ellen was a beautiful girl with a permanent smile who lit up every room she walked into. Her love for her family was always so evident whenever they were together.

“As a community we have lost yet another shining light.”

Port Phillip mayor, Bernadene Voss, said the council was left “shocked and saddened”.

“We send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the person who lost their life after a tree branch fell on a vehicle they were travelling in,” she said on Saturday.

The council has arranged a contractor to make the tree safe and check others nearby.

The tree is managed by VicRoads, a Department of Transport spokesman confirmed.

“Our hearts go out to the family and friends impacted by this tragic incident,” the spokesman said in a statement on Saturday.

The accident follows several deaths and near-misses due to falling trees this year.

In July, a father and son were killed after a large gum tree fell on their car as they were driving in Sherbrooke during strong winds.

A month later Melbourne mum Angie Suryadi died when a tree fell on her car on the Black Spur highway in Fernshaw as her family embarked on a snow trip.

Her two young sons and husband, Arnold Adiatiasvara, were also injured.

A respected university professor and mother of two, Allison Milner, was also killed in August when an elm planted in 1913 fell on her as she walked on a footpath on her way to the University of Melbourne.

Last month three primary schoolgirls were taken to hospital after being hit by a falling branch outside a Parkdale church.