Saturday 24 February 2018

'We could have been killed' - dad and son 'narrowly missed' by falling roof tile urge others to stay indoors

Patryk (22) in red tie, his father Marek (45) on left in blue shirt
Patryk (22) in red tie, his father Marek (45) on left in blue shirt

Mary McDonnell

A UL graduate who narrowly missed being crushed by a fallen roof tile has warned others not to venture outside until storm Ophelia passes.

Patryk Nowakowski (22) from Port Laoise had just returned from work as a server at the Killeshin Hotel in the town when high winds ripped a 3 x 3 foot roof tile from his neighbour’s house that “destroyed” their car and missed him and his father, Marek (45), by just 50cm. 

He told Independent.ie: “My dad was giving me a lift home (around 1pm), we just got out of the car and were trying to secure our post box.

“The tile fell 50cm from us, it destroyed the entire rear windows of the car. It was a near miss.

“If that fell on one of us, we could have been killed. We’re quite lucky.

“When the wind was blowing in through the (broken window) you could see the car nearly being lifted up off the ground.

“It was scary. The shock of it was crazy – thinking back on it, how close it was.

“I wouldn’t have went to work today if I had known. He (my father) was in shock. It wasn’t expected. I didn’t expect the winds to be that bad in Laois.”

Storm Ophelia has wreaked havoc across the country today and has cost three lives.

The fatalities were in Waterford, Tipperary and Louth - a woman in her 50s was killed when a tree struck the car she was travelling in, a man in his 30s died as he was working on a fallen tree with a chainsaw and, later in the afternoon, a man was killed when the car in which he was travelling in was struck by a tree.

About 360,000 homes and businesses are without electricity with more outages expected and almost 200 flights were cancelled from Ireland's two main airports at Dublin and Shannon.

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