Residents tell of the terrifying moment when the Bathurst tornado destroyed their homes

A tornado that “torn up” Scott McKinnon’s property had such strong winds that they picked him up, and he says he clung to the kitchen bench for his life.

When the 115-pound tree shears landed on his legs again, the scenes outside the window were “inexplicable,” he said.

“You could see the cows spinning about 80 feet in the air with the debris.

The tornado tore through the The Central Plateaus of New South Wales just after lunch on Thursdaydestroying everything on a 30-kilometer trail from Clear Creek, near Bathurst, to Meadow Flat, in the southeast, near Lithgow.

Mr McKinnon’s property in Meadow Flat, NSW.(

ABC Central West: Arianna Levy

)

A pile of rubble including corrugated iron.
Residents face a major cleanup.(

ABC Central West: Arianna Levy

)

Houses were flattened, fences wrapped around telegraph poles and three people were injured after the freak storm.

Parts of Mr. McKinnon’s home in Meadow Flat can now be found in a town 20 miles to the south called Tarana.

A trailer lies on its side in front of a corrugated iron building with a tarp on the roof.
Eleven houses were damaged by the extreme wind.(

ABC Central West: Arianna Levy

)

A large tree uprooted and lying on the ground.
The tornado knocked over trees.(

ABC Central West: Arianna Levy

)

His Pomeranian named Pom Pom was not heavy enough to stay on the ground and flew about 300 meters away in a nearby paddock.

For now, Mr. McKinnon and his wife are saving what’s left and getting ready to build something new, because “life just goes on.”

A collapsed living room wall on a house without a roof
Moments after Morris Saba jumped up, the living room wall collapsed on the chair he had been sitting in.(

ABC Central West: Mollie Gorman

)

Morris Saba is lucky to be alive after a wall fell on the chair he was sitting on moments before.

Mr. Saba was watching television in the living room of his house when… the storm could be heard brewing.

Morris Saba with his family after tornado destroys house behind
Morris Saba (right) had his childhood home in Clear Creek, near Bathurst, torn up before his very eyes. (

ABC Central West: Mollie Gorman

)

Mr. Saba’s wife screamed as she looked out the kitchen window and he jumped up to see what was going on.

Within moments the walls of the living room had collapsed on the chair he had been sitting in.

The roof of that part of the house had been torn off and tiles were scattered across the lawn.

Shards of glass were sticking out of the grass.

Kitchen destroyed by tornado
The Sabas’ kitchen was torn to shreds, no longer a place for hearty family meals. (

ABC Central West: Mollie Gorman

)

Mr. Saba and his family could not recall seeing anything like this in over 40 years of living in the region.

Much of the house is now unrecognizable.

“It all went too fast,” said Saba.

Remnants of the family’s lunch were scattered on the kitchen floor.

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Properties damaged by mini-tornado

Nothing was left untouched. Barns were knocked over, cars destroyed and some 200 trees were torn from the roots.

Splinters of wood from the paneled walls of the destroyed rooms were scattered across the backyard.

A 450 kilogram trailer had simply disappeared and was nowhere to be found.

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Tornado rips through

Mr Saba’s wife injured her back in the chaos and was taken to Bathurst Hospital in stable condition before being released a few hours later.

“You see it somewhere else, you never know when it’s going to happen your way…and when it happened, it was pretty scary.”

The family has insurance and plans to rebuild.

Fence wrapped around electricity pole
The whirlwind was so strong it tore fences from their posts. One ended up wrapped around a power pole, which barely stayed upright. (

ABC Central West: Xanthe Gregory

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The National Emergency Service thinks about 11 houses have been damaged.

Many properties in the area are weekenders or small businesses, so total damage can add up once landowners are able to assess what happened.

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