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Melbourne storm kills three people including boy, 4, hit by tree

A four-year-old boy is one of three people killed overnight by falling trees after a ferocious storm tore through Melbourne.

Ayan Kapoor died in hospital after being hit by a tree in Blackburn South in the city’s east at about 6pm on Thursday.

He was taken to Box Hill Hospital in a critical condition and then transferred to the  Royal Children’s Hospital, where he died later that evening. 

The little boy had been out walking with his dad and little sister at the time of the tragedy, his family told Daily Mail Australia on Friday.

Ayan’s uncle Munish Chawla said his brother-in-law had just taken his two children out for a walk when the tree fell.  

‘It’s very sad. The parents are upstairs. They are in a very bad condition,’ the uncle said.  

He said Ayan’s family on Friday morning were in a state of shock and too distraught to venture outside the house.  

‘He was with father and sister. They were altogether and just they’d just left from the home minutes earlier on their daily exercise,’ Mr Chawla said.

‘They just go out to the end of the road and then come back every day. That’s it.’ 

The large tree that claimed Ayan’s short life was among the tallest on the road, but neighbours said it showed no signs of toppling over. 

Ayan’s uncle said the youngster had been enjoying kindergarten and looking forward to school. 

As workers removed the tree on the back of a truck, a teenage girl walking her dog appeared with a bunch of flowers.

She did not know Ayan, but was compelled to come and pay her respects. 

‘It’s just so sad. The poor little boy,’ she said. ‘The storm just came up out of nowhere.’ 

A spokesman for Whitehorse City Council said the council had received dozens of calls itself about damage to trees and fences.

‘The safety of residents will be our top priority as we attend to clean-up efforts and fallen branches across the municipality,’ the spokesman said.

A 59-year-old man also died after a tree crushed his car. He had been in a shopping centre carpark in Belgrave. 

A 36-year-old woman, who was a passenger in a ute driving along the Maroondah Highway at Fernshaw, was also killed by a falling tree at 6.50pm. The driver suffered minor injuries.

Multiple suburbs across the city were plunged into darkness during the deadly storm which tore through the state on Thursday night.

There were still about 50,000 homes without power on Friday morning, with the State Emergency Service receiving 1700 calls for help throughout the night. 

‘We’re urging any road users to please drive carefully and to the conditions particularly across the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne and the Yarra Ranges,’ the SES said.

‘Look out for fallen branches and debris.’  

Volunteers worked through the night to try to clear the fallen trees and branches littered across roads and railway tracks. 

Several major train lines were suspended while the tracks are cleared. 

There were replacement buses for the Belgrave, Cranbourne, Frankston, Glen Waverley, Hurstbridge, Pakenham and Sandringham lines.

All services were back up and running on Friday morning. 

Wind gusts as strong as 124km/h were recorded in Mount Gellibrand, east of Colac.

Lilydale and Emerald in Melbourne’s outer east were hit the hardest by the storm. 

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning on Thursday afternoon for Melbourne, Geelong and the Mornington Peninsular. 

Meteorologists are predicting a calmer weekend ahead with westerly winds up to 20 km/h on Friday becoming light in the middle of the day then becoming north to northwesterly 15 to 20 km/h in the late evening.

Saturday should be a sunny 20C with northerly winds up to 40 km/h. 

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