Family bach destroyed after felled tree spears holiday home


A family bach in the Marlborough Sounds has been crushed by a tree cut down by forestry workers.

A family bach in the Marlborough Sounds is a "write-off" after being speared by a felled tree trunk.

The 80-year-old holiday home at South East Bay, in Pelorus Sound, was effectively pierced by the "massive" log as it came crashing through the living room and one of the bedrooms.

Bach owner Gail Earle, of Nelson, said it was a miracle nobody was home, while the forestry block manager said he had never heard of anything like it before.

The pine tree was cut down by forestry workers who then called the family on Wednesday to say what had happened.

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There had been logging in the bay for the past few years but Earle said she never expected their bach to be in any danger. She guessed the log weighed a couple of tonnes.

The felled tree trunk goes through the bedroom and into the living room.

The felled tree trunk goes through the bedroom and into the living room.

"If anyone was in there, they would have been killed for sure," Earle said.

"It's really affected our lives. I can't stop thinking about it. I can't sleep.

"This is a little sanctuary for us and now it's gone. It's a nightmare."

A pine tree crashes into a Marlborough Sounds bach after being cut down by forestry workers.

A pine tree crashes into a Marlborough Sounds bach after being cut down by forestry workers.

The Earle family had spent countless summer weekends and Christmas holidays at the Marlborough Sounds bach.

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They were demanding answers and compensation for the destruction of their holiday home.

"I just want everyone to be very wary if anyone is logging around their homes ... I won't be in the house anymore when they're logging," Earle said.

The felled tree trunk pierces into the living room.

The felled tree trunk pierces into the living room.

The boat-access bach was nothing flash but it was worth everything to the family, Earle said.

The bach would likely be rebuilt, and the family had been assured that the cost would be covered by the insurance of the forestry company.

Son Matt Earle said the dart board and record player survived the incident, but the rest was a write-off.

The living room after the tree crashed through the bach.

The living room after the tree crashed through the bach.

"The damage is mind-boggling. We're just devastated," he said.

"We're just upset that this can happen, who's to say this can't happen again to somebody else? It's unacceptable."

Matt Earle, who lived in Auckland, said it was disappointing the family would not be able to spend Christmas at their favourite spot but he was glad everybody was safe.

One of the bedrooms with its new feature.

One of the bedrooms with its new feature.

"If anyone had been in there they wouldn't have had a chance. Even the tree falling through could have given someone a heart attack," he said.

"It's a very special place that we all treasure, it's our favourite place in the whole world. So for this to happen is hard."

Laurie Forestry managing director Allan Laurie oversaw the forestry block on behalf of the owner and organised the contractor for harvest.

The owners say the bach will likely be rebuilt.

The owners say the bach will likely be rebuilt.

Laurie said he had never heard of anything like it happening before.

A thorough investigation was ongoing to ensure lessons were learnt from the incident, he said.

"It's too early to say exactly what happened, but there are a raft of external circumstances involved," he said.

Laurie did not name the contractor involved, but said all contractors he worked with were required to have comprehensive insurance.

 - The Marlborough Express

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