THE occupants of two cars had a miraculous escape when a large tree fell on them in Newcastle during Thursday night’s storm. The vehicles had been travelling along the Bryansford Road area, close to The Corragh housing development, when the mature tree was brought crashing down in the high winds. Luckily, and despite the serious damage caused, the cars’ occupants were able to free themselves from the wreckage, with neither the NI Ambulance Service nor NI Fire and Rescue Service required to help at the scene. Although those travelling in the vehicles managed to escape uninjured, the damage sustained by the cars, one of which can be seen here the following morning as the tree was cut up, was significant. The road was closed overnight to facilitate the clear-up operation.
Local PSNI sergeant, Kenny Gracey, told the Mourne Observer that “thankfully” there were no reports of injuries. “Police received a report shortly after 6pm on Thursday that a tree had fallen on two cars in the Bryansford Road area of Newcastle due to strong winds. “Thankfully, there were no reports of any injuries,” he explained. The officer added that police attended the scene to assist with traffic control, and that the road “was closed for a time to facilitate the recovery of the vehicles, and also due to a fallen power line.” In addition to this section of the road, known locally as The Mile, being closed due to a fallen tree, and with a severe weather warning in place, the PSNI advised motorists to exercise caution. Several other local roads were closed by fallen trees, brought down by the strong winds, including the Carnacaville Road, outside Maghera, Seaforde’s Manse Road and the Scaddy Road, near Killyleagh. A severe weather warning for wind had been in place from 3pm on Thursday until 3am the following morning. NIE said “a low level of damage” was caused to the electricity network, with some customers experiencing power cuts as a result. Widespread gusts of up to 80km/h (50 mph) had been forecast overnight, with gusts up to 115km/h (70 mph) expected in exposed coasts and hills. There were also heavy and blustery showers, causing difficult driving conditions.