Deadly twister strikes

STAFF REPORTERS
Last updated 07:55 07/12/2012

Tornado hits Hobsonville

Three dead as rare tornado hits

Tornado Graphic
Victor Soh
Tornado's Path

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The skies went black and the rain was as dense as a wall.

It then started to blow sideways and the winds started swirling.

It was at that moment, at 12.30pm yesterday, that residents at Hobsonville Point realised they were in the path of a tornado.

Three people were confirmed dead and at least seven people were taken to North Shore and Auckland hospitals with injuries after a tornado ripped through the suburb.

The tornado ripped roofs off houses, toppled trees and sent debris flying on to cars.

Emergency services cordoned off Carnegie Cres and Wallingford Way, where many of the defence force personnel live, to assess the damage.

Caylee Dyer, who lives on Wallingford Way, had just moved up to Hobsonville Point with her partner and 10 days ago she bought a new car which is now written off after a tree fell on to it.

She was home alone on her computer when she saw the sky go dark and noticed the wheelie bin blow over.

"The sound was so insane.

"It sounded like a train, a train coming straight through," she says.

Ms Dyer hid behind the couch.

"The tornado was so powerful, it felt like the windows were about to blow in," she says.

"After the tornado, it just went dead quiet and then we heard sirens."

Joe Oakes, from Hobsonville Rd, had just pulled into his driveway when the tornado hit.

He and his wife Rose stayed in the car while it whipped through.

The pair stayed away from the windows and held tight while the car rocked back and forth.

"There were swirling winds all around us and we just sat tight and hung on," he says.

"It couldn't have lasted more than a minute but we feel really lucky not to have had any damage considering what other people have had."

Mr Oakes' home was virtually undamaged.

Once the tornado had passed, neighbours quickly signalled to each other they were OK.

Their neighbourhood, however, was left in tatters with rubbish strewn through the streets, smashed up cars and uprooted trees, some with trunks one metre in diameter.

The tornado had even taken its toll on pets who were visibly distressed among the chaos.

Twelve Urban Search and Rescue members were in the area for a training session and were sent out into the field to check houses.

It's understood several downed power lines in the area prevented search teams from getting to some buildings.

Residents and emergency services were put on high alert with warnings of another possible tornado.

Emergency services worked throughout the afternoon warning West Aucklanders to shelter from the potential of further destructive tornadoes.

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- Western Leader

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