Injured man backs tree removal at Lake Neangar

A KANGAROO Flat man feels extra lucky to have celebrated Christmas this year after a tree branch fell on him at Lake Neangar in October, causing extensive head and upper body injuries.

David Buchanan was sitting on a bench on October 4 after taking a walk around the lake with his wife Rhonda, five-year-old niece Mikayla and her dog Meg when a sugar gum branch fell on his neck from a great height.

The 63-year-old spent 10 days in intensive care at the Royal Melbourne with compound head fractures, a dislocated shoulder and torn ligaments in his arms.

Mr Buchanan has put his support behind City of Greater Bendigo council, which is under attack from some residents in the community for cutting down native trees in the area.

“I am pleased to see the council has been proactive in making Lake Neangar a much safer place for the community to enjoy,” he said.

“This incident has had a major impact on my life.” 

The La Trobe University chef has been off work since the incident, but hopes to be back by February.

He is undergoing intensive rehabilitation at the John Lindell Centre for his shoulder injuries.

Mr Buchanan said he did not remember much of the incident.

“It wasn’t windy at all. It was a beautiful day. You go for a walk and are enjoying life then something unexpected like this happens,” he said.

But the Buchanans are putting the incident behind them and are appreciating spending Christmas with both their families in Bendigo this year.

“It could have been worse,” Mr Buchanan said. 

“For something bad like this to happen to me I think I have come out of it remarkably OK.

“To survive, it reminds me that birthdays, Christmas and family events are irreplaceable.”

And Mr Buchanan has this to say to people who think damaged trees should not be cut down:

“Trees, if dangerous, can be replaced – lives can’t.”

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