‘Surreal’ moment for off-duty police officer
An ear-splitting crack sent offduty police officer Adrian Heffernan sprinting away from his family into a ‘‘surreal’’ scene.
A 130-year-old cottonwood tree toppled over on Sunday afternoon, crushing four vehicles in Auckland’s Cornwall Park.
When he realised there were people trapped in one of the crushed vehicles, Heffernan flew into action.
‘‘It was surreal,’’ he said. ‘‘There was a branch that had trapped [an elderly lady] and her son-in-law in the car.’’
Once they finally got to her, she was ‘‘slumped over the front seat’’.
‘‘So we finally got her door open and I slowly got her out of the car, andk piced her up to the grass verge and laid her down.’’
Heffernan said the woman was in shock. He waited beside her and her family until the ambulance arrived.
‘‘It was probably the loudest sound I’d ever heard. It was a massive cracking sound, followed by the thud of the tree hitting the ground.
Emergency services then arrived at the scene, near the park’s information centre, just after 2.15pm on Sunday.
Park director Michael Ayrton said the park has commissioned an immediate arborist report on what happened with this tree.
All findings in the report will be released publicly.
Cars were crushed and one person was injured after a large tree collapsed in Cornwall Park.