Friends cheat death during Storm Arwen as tree smashes onto car as they unload shopping

Les had parked his car outside his mate’s house and the two men were unloading their new purchases when the tree from the park opposite the house fell in Greater Manchester

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Storm Arwen: Tree falls down on car in Manchester

Two men narrowly escaped death when extreme weather saw a huge tree toppled on top of a car as they unloaded it from a shopping trip.

As Storm Arwen raged across the UK last night, Les Webb was returning from a trip to IKEA, to his friend Anthony Blanchard’s home, the Manchester Evening News reports .

Les had parked his Honda Jazz car outside the house and the two men were unloading their new purchases they had bought from their trip to IKEA when the tree from the park opposite the house fell, coming down on both the car, and them.

Miraculously, the car took the full weight of the trunk of the tree and Les, 54, and Anthony, 47, escaped with minor grazes from the branches which surrounded them

Les Webb and Anthony Blanchard cheated death as a tree smashed onto their car


Manchester Evening News WS)

They grappled their way out to safety and firefighters arrived quickly.

Anthony told the Manchester Evening News : “If the car hadn’t been there, we would have been killed.”

The Stockport council re-enablement support worker went on: “It has saved our lives. But were engulfed by the branches and leaves and we had to battle our way out.

“I can’t believe how lucky we’ve been. You read about people being killed by falling trees and it’s a terrifying experience.”

CCTV footage showing the scene outside Anthony’s home just moments before the tree crashes down onto Les’ car


Manchester Evening News WS)

Mobile music teacher Les, who lives at Springhead in Oldham, says he now faces a race against time to find another car to carry out his job.

“My car is write-off, but it has definitely saved us. It’s a miracle we weren’t killed.

“I saw the tree coming down as we were unloading the boot, and it just seemed to happen in slow motion. It was very frightening, but we are lucky to still be here.”

The two friends inspecting the damage moments after the tree fell


Manchester Evening News WS)

Council workers arrived on the scene quickly to clear up the tree which was on the edge of Cheadle heath Park and straddled the entire width of the road when it fell.

News of the lucky escape comes after the storm was reported to have claimed the lives of three victims.

Headteacher Francis Lagan died when a tree fell on his car, and a second man, died after a tree fell on him at 11pm on Friday in Ambleside, Cumbria.

Weather warnings were in place across the UK yesterday, with amber alerts across the North East and Eastern Scotland as well as the South West of England.

More than 120 lorries were stuck in heavy snow on the M62 in Greater Manchester, with the motorway shut by police while ploughs and gritters led the rescue effort.

Dozens of crashes were reported by police agencies across the UK, many roads were closed due to fallen trees, snow or ice, and more than 130,000 homes were without power on a cold night in the north.

People living in the worst-hit areas were urged to stay at home because the conditions were so treacherous.

The red warning – the first maximum alert to be issued since Storm Dennis in February 2020 – expired overnight, but amber and yellow warnings for wind remain in place.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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