Woman killed by falling tree during 100kmh winds
A woman was killed in a freak accident after being pinned to the ground by a massive tree felled by 100kmh winds as Ireland was battered by high winds.
The 45-year-old Dublin woman was walking to her home in Ballsbridge shortly after 5pm last night when a large section of a mature tree outside the International School of Dublin snapped like a twig in near gale-force winds.
The tree came crashing down on the woman as she was crossing the adjacent Waterloo Road and she was pinned unconscious underneath it.
According to workers at the nearby Xtra-vision shop, who watched the horror unfold, the woman seemed to have heard the tree snapping as she was walking across the road and tried to run away from it before it fell down on top of her, striking her face-down on to the road.
Xtra-vision employee Jonathan Clarke said he was just walking into the shop when he heard the tree snap and within seconds "it sounded like an explosion" as it came crashing down.
"I ran outside and people were starting to run away. There was a car that the tree had landed on that was trying to back away. . . Then they realised that somebody was actually under the tree. I mean it landed on this girl," he told the Irish Independent last night.
"Everybody came running from all over trying to hold the tree in place and comfort the girl.
"It was a matter of trying to make sure the weight wasn't crushing her. It was too big for anybody to move and they were just trying to hold it in place."
Mr Clarke said someone brought out a table to prop up the tree while awaiting the ambulance.
The Dublin Fire Brigade managed to get the tree off the woman, while paramedics battled to save her life. But she died shortly after arriving at St Vincent's Hospital, gardai confirmed last night.
The driver of the car managed to avoid the brunt of the falling tree, although the car's bonnet was badly damaged and remained wedged underneath the tree as gardai investigated the accident site.
It's understood that the driver was not seriously injured.
However, another pedestrian was also injured after being struck by debris that blew off a balcony on D'Olier Street in Dublin's city centre at approximately 5.30pm last night.
The pedestrian's condition could not be confirmed.
A cold front moving in from the Atlantic yesterday was responsible for gusts of up to 130kmh on the west coast and 100kmh in Dublin and elsewhere across the country
Motorists faced extremely blustery conditions last night, while the promenade at Salthill in Galway city was impassable due to high tides and extremely windy conditions.
High winds averaging 60kmh across much of the country made driving conditions dangerous due to falling debris.
The wet and windy weather will persist across the country today and over the weekend with little improvement expected next week, according to Met Eireann meteorologist Eoin Sherlock.
"It will be a very similar picture today," he said.
Temperatures will remain mild today and through the weekend though, averaging between 9-12C with night-time lows of between 2-3C in the north and 3-8 C elsewhere.