Claire McKenzie: How Ballandean, Queensland tractor victim survived after two legs and a severed arm

A bridal stylist who lost both legs and an arm in a horrific lawn mowing accident managed to save her life by struggling through suffering and calling 000.

Claire McKenzie, 61, bought a tractor and a slasher to help protect her 50-acre property in Ballandin in Queensland’s Granite Belt region during bushfire season.

Mrs Mackenzie, a mother described by neighbors as “a quiet woman who loves the outdoors”, was alone in her house just before noon on Thursday when she was thrown from her tractor and run over by the raptor.

Despite the horrific injuries and profuse bleeding, Ms Mackenzie remained conscious and was able to contact the ambulance services for help – the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) deployed a rescue helicopter and police rushed from nearby Stanthorpe.

Wedding designer Claire Mackenzie (left) was mowing her 50-acre property in the historic wine-producing town of Blandine, 150 miles north of Brisbane when she was thrown from her tractor and three of her limbs were cut off by the slasher.

Wedding designer Claire Mackenzie (left) was mowing her 50-acre property in the historic wine-producing town of Blandine, 150 miles north of Brisbane when she was thrown from her tractor and three of her limbs were cut off by the slasher.

The 61-year-old had been cutting her hair three years before wildfire season after fires swept through the small town and forced an evacuation, but she was catastrophically injured when a leg fell on her legs and arm.

The 61-year-old had been cutting her hair three years before wildfire season after fires swept through the small town and forced an evacuation, but she was catastrophically injured when a leg fell on her legs and arm.

She was flown from the scene by helicopter to the roof of Brisbane’s largest trauma centre, Princess Alexandra Hospital.

QAS spokesman Stephen Jones later said Ms McKenzies “suffered life-threatening injuries” and “I have not seen or heard of anything like it.”

He said: “She suffered significant multiple trauma to her extremities but was conscious and able to speak to paramedics who were able to stabilize the woman.”

“It’s a wonder she had the sense to get that phone so quickly and get that help. Otherwise it would be an absolute tragedy here today.

A Blandian resident said the small community was devastated by the news of Mrs. Mackenzie’s injuries.

“She keeps to her own, she’s a very quiet person,” said her 83-year-old neighbor.

“She has done farming and has gardens, she loves nature.

“She had bought a tractor and a slasher to try to protect her property from the fire and was mowing the lawn when it happened.”

Two policemen are on the scene where wedding designer Claire Mackenzie sustains catastrophic injuries when she falls from her tractor and the slasher flips on her, severing her legs and an arm.

Two policemen are on the scene where wedding designer Claire Mackenzie sustains catastrophic injuries when she falls from her tractor and the slasher flips on her, severing her legs and an arm.

Claire Mackenzie's horrific injuries were described as an accident at work, but Blanden's neighbors said the 61-year-old was simply mowing to reduce the risk of wildfires on their property.

Claire Mackenzie’s horrific injuries were described as an accident at work, but Blanden’s neighbors said the 61-year-old was simply mowing to reduce the risk of wildfires on their property.

Mrs. Mackenzie bought the tractor and trimmer (above) to clear her 50-acre property before wildfire season and three years after the fires that threatened the small Palandian town.

Mrs. Mackenzie bought the tractor and trimmer (above) to clear her 50-acre property before wildfire season and three years after the fires that threatened the small Palandian town.

The town, which lies south of Stanthorpe on the New South Wales border, was evacuated in 2019 when bushfires threatened to engulf the small community after burning about 2,000 hectares of surrounding land.

With a population of just under 200, Ballandean is home to several vineyards in the Southern Downs, including Ballandean Estate Wines – the oldest family-owned winery in the state, founded by Angelo Puglisi, considered the ‘Father of Queensland Winemaking’.

The quiet fashionista moved to the small town 150 miles southwest of Brisbane in 2016 after three decades of making haute couture and bridal wear, and launched Wedding Desire through online crafts and craft site Etsy.

According to her Etsy and Linkedin profiles, Ms. McKenzie makes wedding dresses, wedding jewelry, candles and other items, loves vintage and sells “to every part of Australia, Spain, the US and the UK.”

Claire Mackenzie ran a fashion and haute couture business in Victoria and Brisbane before she bought her home (above) on a 50-acre estate in historic Blandian, home to Queensland's foundation wine industry

Claire Mackenzie ran a fashion and haute couture business in Victoria and Brisbane before she bought her home (above) on a 50-acre estate in historic Blandian, home to Queensland’s foundation wine industry

Costume designer Claire Mackenzie was flown by air and helicopter to the roof of Brisbane's largest trauma centre, Princess Alexandra Hospital.

Costume designer Claire Mackenzie was flown by air and helicopter to the roof of Brisbane’s largest trauma centre, Princess Alexandra Hospital.

Ms. Mackenzie is described on her business websites as “a coffee lover and fashionista…a lover of style, creativity and vintage – with over 30 years of experience in the bridal industry”.

In an interview with Polkadotwedding.com in 2013, Ms. Mackenzie said she found inspiration by “looking the world for ideas.

“There is an endless stream of ideas available online, and when I combine that with my passion for rustic/vintage weddings, there’s no end in sight at this point.”

Her online business, which makes and sells handmade products, she said, “was inspired by my son’s country wedding, which was to take place in 2014.

“(I decided) to start my shop on Etsy with just a few items… Then it just fell asleep, so many ideas started flowing into my head and in my spare time I’m going to make it happen.”

While Lady Mackenzie recovers in Princess Alexandra’s intensive care unit, OSH officials are investigating the accident.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11467673/Claire-McKenzie-Ballandean-Queensland-tractor-victim-survived-two-legs-arm-severed.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490ire : How a Blandian, Queensland tractor victim survived with two feet and a severed arm