A 42-YEAR-old mother of three was killed in a freak tractor-mower accident last Wednesday.
Papua New Guinean-born Muraka Jenny Vearncombe was walking along a footpath in North Ward, Townsville, when she was struck on the head by a piece of pipe flung by a slasher, killing her instantly.
Family friend Vanessa Beuto, 33, said Ms Vearncombe was a devoted mother and generous friend.
“She was like my older sister. She was a wonderful person, so giving and loving.”
Ms Vearncombe was on a footpath in front of property consultants Collins and Eales on Eyre St, North Ward at 8.05am when a tractor pulling a slasher on the vacant block next door ran over the pipe and sent it flying in her direction.
The pipe ricocheted off the slasher with such force it travelled a further 50m after inflicting the fatal injuries.
The tractor driver, 48, was sent to hospital in shock.
Children at nearby Townsville Central State School were sent home with a note offering support to anyone traumatised by the incident.
Police Sr Sgt Darren Randall said the forensic crash unit and Workplace Health and Safety Queensland would investigate the accident.
“The incident occurred across the road from the state school. Contact has been made with the principal and at this stage, luckily it seems no students were witnesses,” he said.
“Initial investigations suggest it was an accident.
“It’s a tragedy. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time. She just happened to be in the exact trajectory of the pipe,” Sr Sgt Randall said.
He said it was believed the piece of pipe was covered by grass.
Investigations will determine if it had detached from the machinery.
Police have seized the slasher and tractor for forensic investigation.
A witness from a nearby business said he had just driven around the corner when he saw the woman lying on the footpath.