Amberley tornado injures animals

EMILY SPINK
Last updated 12:43 26/02/2014

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North Canterbury

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Sunday's tornado has left rural animals in the worst-hit areas injured and traumatised.

Jan Swarbrick was out feeding her dogs and putting the chooks away when the twister tore through her Amberley property.

''The sky was just evil. It was the most unbelievable sky I have ever seen in my life.''

Within seconds, the ''black funnel'' of the tornado was just 200 metres away from Swarbrick.

As she ran for a shed, willow tree branches lashed her face and body. Once inside, branches continued ''smashing'' against the shed.

''I thought any moment it's going to go.''

While it would have only lasted for a few seconds, it was one of the most horrifying things of her life, Swarbrick said. 

From inside the shed, she watched as an 850kg horse float and a ''big drum'' were sent flying into a paddock, spooking the three horses grazing nearby.

The animals suffered terrible cuts as they were sent into fences, however all three horses were on the mend following vet checks.

The horse that was worst hit was a successful show-jumping champion and was going to Horse of the Year.

He is now on antibiotics and painkillers to settle him.

A number of sheep were lost when the trees they were under were uplifted, and some of the family's farm dogs were still traumatised.

After their harrowing ordeal, Swarbrick - who received cuts and bruises from the hail - said they had been inundated with support from the community.

''I want to say that I can't believe the people that just come and just help. They just arrived one after the other.''

With their internal and boundary fences wiped out, people had been offering to take stock and horses until fences had been repaired.

''It's like there were no fences on the property.''

They had just moved in to their red-zone relocated home six months ago and would now have to ''wear'' the bill for repairing the damage because it was not covered by their insurance company.

The tornado was the third natural event to have hit the family since moving in. Last year's heavy rainfall flooded the section during the house's relocation, while September's winds felled trees. 

''It tried to blow us off our perch there too.''

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- The Press

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