Thunderstorm kills three in Australia

A fierce thunderstorm in Australia’s southeast killed three persons, including a four-year-old boy and left emergency crews working to restore power and drinking water to thousands of homes Friday.

High winds sent trees crashing into homes and crushing cars near Melbourne, state premier Daniel Andrews said Friday.

A four-year-old was struck by a tree while reportedly walking with his father on Thursday night in the southeast of the city. The child was rushed to the hospital but later died from his injuries.

“This will be just a terrible time for them and our hearts are with you,” Andrews said, offering condolences to the families of those killed in the storm.

The cleanup is expected to take days, with emergency services reporting 2,000 calls for help, the majority concerning downed trees, Andrews added.

A power outage hit a local water reservoir, causing health authorities to warn residents in some suburbs to boil tap water before drinking it.

One resident in the hard-hit suburb of Belgrave told The Age newspaper that the storm hit with such a sudden intensity that tree falls sounded like explosions.

“You couldn’t really tell where the trees were coming down, you just knew they were, everything was vibrating,” Josh O’Connell said.

Melbourne remains under lockdown as authorities work to suppress a recent resurgence of coronavirus cases, recording 113 new cases on Friday and another 12 deaths from the disease.

Australia has recorded over 25,400 virus cases in a population of 25 million, with 584 deaths.