Near miss for Neal as gales rip across region

Neal Bassett's car trapped under the fallen tree

Neal Bassett's car trapped under the fallen tree

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AS gale force winds cut power and disrupted travel, postman Neal Bassett had a lucky escape on the way to work.

Neal was travelling between home in Badwell Ash and work in Stanton last Thursday when a massive beech tree crashed down in front of him.

Neal Bassett narrowly missed being crushed when a tree fell on his car last week.

Neal Bassett narrowly missed being crushed when a tree fell on his car last week.

“It fell about 10ft in front of me and there was nothing I could do,” he said. “Had I been going 10mph faster it would have been a different story because the trunk was at head height.”

Though he was frightened, because, in the 6am darkness he could smell petrol, the impact had not seemed that great from inside the car, so he was shocked when he got out and saw what had happened – his first accident in 17 years of driving.

The trunk had ripped off the Ford Focus’ bonnet, crushing it through the windscreen and buckling the windscreen pillars.

“The police and recovery bloke said I was so lucky I should buy a Lottery ticket,” he said, and one of the scratch cards his mother-in-law bought him later that day did win a few pounds.

The Wattisham weather station recorded hourly wind speed averages as high as 39mph overnight, which is officially gale force, and winds did not die down until Thursday afternoon.

UK Power Networks said a falling tree cut off 2,960 customers in Beyton and Thurston at 2.47pm that day. They reconnected 1,402 in five minutes and another 931 within 30min, with the rest restored by 4.10pm.

The company said that while the winds caused damage to overhead lines across Eastern England, there were no widespread power cuts.