‘Sur­real’ mo­ment for off-duty po­lice of­fi­cer

Auckland City Harbour News - - SITUATIONS VACANT - STAFF RE­PORTER

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.

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