A teenager who was pinned to the ground by a fallen branch has claimed she ‘escaped death’ during the mini-tornado that battered parts of the Horsham district on Saturday (January 25).
Saralouise Puttick, 17, was in her garden in Coldwaltham with mother Joy Hambleton, 48, when she was knocked down by a branch that had fallen from a tree.
The student escaped without injury, and believes she was fortunate to do so as another, larger branch ripped through the top of the nearby jacuzzi during high winds.
She told the County Times: “I escaped death from a branch that came down from a tree and knocked me to the floor.
“I am shaken up - my mum said about going to hospital and I said there are more important people that need to go to hospital than me.
“If the other bit hit me I definitely would have died. It was only a couple of feet away.”
The weather had been ‘fine’, according to Joy, but winds suddenly picked up when the pair were in the garden.
Saralouise was looking after her rabbits at the time of the incident.
She said: “My mum had said about going in, and I said I wanted to finish with the rabbits.
“It is quite daunting to think that a little kid or even a pet in the garden could have lost their lives.
“I was lucky I am old enough that I could react in the way that I did.”
Joy explained that the threat of trees falling in the area has made her ‘concerned’ about herself and others’ safety.
She said: “I went into the greenhouse, turned my back and the next minute I heard her screaming.
“I saw this branch and she was lying on the floor with this branch on top of her. Another branch went through the top of the jacuzzi.
“I picked her up and all she was worried about was her rabbits! I took her inside and gave her a cup of tea.”
Joy added that the branches fell from a tree on the other side of their hedge. She guessed it had fallen from a height of about 16 feet.
She said: “I have never known anything like it in my life.
“If she had been seven feet nearer to the hedge this big branch would have hit her and I think it might have killed her.
“I’m concerned for mine and other people’s safety in case a tree comes down.”