Miraculous escape for two small children as huge branch falls from tree in York's Coppergate Centre

York Press: The damaged metal barrier in the Coppergate Centre The damaged metal barrier in the Coppergate Centre

TWO small children had an incredible escape when a large branch fell 50ft on top of them in York city centre, smashing through a metal barrier.

Visitors and shoppers were milling around at the Coppergate Centre when the branch fell from an old horse chestnut tree on to a family, including a toddler and a young boy.

Beth Flanagan, 25, a York nurse who was one of a number of people who rushed to help free the family, said: “I went under the branches and they were sitting inside, underneath.

“They were completely surrounded by branches and leaves. The branches formed a domed space around them and they were sat in a little gap. I thought they were going to be seriously injured. But I checked them over and they just had scratches.”

The family, said to be badly shaken, was taken into the nearby Marks & Spencer store, where staff administered first aid while they waited for paramedics.

Sian Harrison, 19, who had been working at the nearby Water Walkers attraction at the time of the incident on Saturday afternoon, said: “I just heard this creak and looked up and saw the branch coming down, it must have fallen from more than 40ft. I just felt so helpless watching it fall down, then I heard all the screaming.

“It just demolished the whole metal fence in front of them. If it had done that to a fence, what would it have done to a child? I think that’s what probably saved them. It’s just miraculous how they survived.”

Ali Bodley said the branch missed her by inches as she sat eating her lunch. “I heard a loud crack and crashing sound and the branch came down,” she said.

“People were screaming and rushed to help those under the branch, which included a small child in a pushchair.

“It was all very scary. It was lucky no one took a direct hit. The police asked people to move away from the seating and put up barriers in case another branch came down.”

John Corner said the wind had just been stirring the branches when there was a loud crack and the branch, which was about ten inches thick, fell. “The barriers surrounding the ball splashing area were completely flattened.”

Ann-Marie Leach said there was a stunned silence after the branch fell before a woman started screaming: “Get it off him.”

“The family had a relatively lucky escape as it was clear they were almost unscathed,” she said. “The woman was understandably shocked and the little boy had a cut on his head where he’d been hit, but it could have been a lot worse.”

Centre manager Deb O’Donnell said: “The safety and well-being of our shoppers is of paramount concern and to that end we have a specialist arboriculture team who conduct regular assessments of the horse chestnut.

“The last inspection took place just three weeks ago, on Thursday, July 4, and no issues were reported with the tree or indeed any of its branches. An investigation into how and why this incident occurred is on-going. At this time we are simply grateful that none of our shoppers were seriously injured.”

Comments (28)

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8:03pm Sat 27 Jul 13

cityman29 says...

Thankfully no one was injured.
But what more could possibly follow on from the story? A interview with the tree for its reaction?
Thankfully no one was injured. But what more could possibly follow on from the story? A interview with the tree for its reaction? cityman29
  • Score: 4

8:38pm Sat 27 Jul 13

TerryYork says...

Oh the drama!!

Egypt's got nothing on us!
Oh the drama!! Egypt's got nothing on us! TerryYork
  • Score: -2

9:15pm Sat 27 Jul 13

tricky1992000 says...

something just twigged, perhaps the tree was branching out, which wood nut be unusual.
something just twigged, perhaps the tree was branching out, which wood nut be unusual. tricky1992000
  • Score: 0

9:16pm Sat 27 Jul 13

tricky1992000 says...

Maybe it just wanted to leaf and conker

I'll get my coat.
Maybe it just wanted to leaf and conker I'll get my coat. tricky1992000
  • Score: -1

11:13pm Sat 27 Jul 13

Dan Atkinson says...

Why are 90% of the York Press news stories joculars?
Why are 90% of the York Press news stories joculars? Dan Atkinson
  • Score: 2

9:12am Sun 28 Jul 13

The OX says...

Should report this to special branch !
Should report this to special branch ! The OX
  • Score: 1

9:45am Sun 28 Jul 13

Alpha Kenny Thing says...

What the hell has a branch falling from a tree got to do with the police?
What the hell has a branch falling from a tree got to do with the police? Alpha Kenny Thing
  • Score: 5

10:14am Sun 28 Jul 13

cityman29 says...

Why was this not reported last night in the first story. It gave a brief account of what happened last night? The update this morning reads something like a play. Thankfully no one was seriously injured. The story does not make sense what so ever
Why was this not reported last night in the first story. It gave a brief account of what happened last night? The update this morning reads something like a play. Thankfully no one was seriously injured. The story does not make sense what so ever cityman29
  • Score: 0

12:09pm Sun 28 Jul 13

RingoStarr says...

Yeh Press, wots this storey got to do wiv York, eh? eh? WE wot coment kno much moor about reel life eh? eh? giv us storeys abowt Egipt and death and distraction!
Yeh Press, wots this storey got to do wiv York, eh? eh? WE wot coment kno much moor about reel life eh? eh? giv us storeys abowt Egipt and death and distraction! RingoStarr
  • Score: -1

12:47pm Sun 28 Jul 13

nowthen says...

Old Horse Chestnut trees are well known for shedding branches. There's no remedy. To prevent further risk of injury, or worse, the tree will have to be removed . I'm glad no one was seriously hurt.
Old Horse Chestnut trees are well known for shedding branches. There's no remedy. To prevent further risk of injury, or worse, the tree will have to be removed . I'm glad no one was seriously hurt. nowthen
  • Score: 1

1:20pm Sun 28 Jul 13

TerryYork says...

RingoStarr wrote:
Yeh Press, wots this storey got to do wiv York, eh? eh? WE wot coment kno much moor about reel life eh? eh? giv us storeys abowt Egipt and death and distraction!
LOL! Top trolling.
[quote][p][bold]RingoStarr[/bold] wrote: Yeh Press, wots this storey got to do wiv York, eh? eh? WE wot coment kno much moor about reel life eh? eh? giv us storeys abowt Egipt and death and distraction![/p][/quote]LOL! Top trolling. TerryYork
  • Score: 2

7:45pm Sun 28 Jul 13

Richard Feynman says...

Ladies and gentlemen, modern Britain.
Ladies and gentlemen, modern Britain. Richard Feynman
  • Score: 0

8:44am Mon 29 Jul 13

dodgydavereturns says...

It's time to ban trees!
It's time to ban trees! dodgydavereturns
  • Score: 0

9:06am Mon 29 Jul 13

David of York says...

Is that chap trying to resuscitate the tree branch in the first picture? ;-)
Is that chap trying to resuscitate the tree branch in the first picture? ;-) David of York
  • Score: 5

9:58am Mon 29 Jul 13

Ignatius Lumpopo says...

Interesting to see a picture of a crushed crush barrier. Sort of destroys the myth, doesn't it?
Interesting to see a picture of a crushed crush barrier. Sort of destroys the myth, doesn't it? Ignatius Lumpopo
  • Score: 3

10:24am Mon 29 Jul 13

smiler45 says...

I assume now this has happened they will be out cutting the tree branches back, only after something happens do they actually do anything. When was the last time this tree was inspected by tree surgeons? I assume that is something else that has become a victim of the cuts? Health & Safety is no longer an issue for York City Council but saving money is, unless they want to shell out on pointless waste of money schemes like 20 mile hour zones etc.
I assume now this has happened they will be out cutting the tree branches back, only after something happens do they actually do anything. When was the last time this tree was inspected by tree surgeons? I assume that is something else that has become a victim of the cuts? Health & Safety is no longer an issue for York City Council but saving money is, unless they want to shell out on pointless waste of money schemes like 20 mile hour zones etc. smiler45
  • Score: -3

10:38am Mon 29 Jul 13

again says...

Alpha Kenny Thing wrote:
What the hell has a branch falling from a tree got to do with the police?
Quite. The OX must be barking..
[quote][p][bold]Alpha Kenny Thing[/bold] wrote: What the hell has a branch falling from a tree got to do with the police?[/p][/quote]Quite. The OX must be barking.. again
  • Score: 1

11:04am Mon 29 Jul 13

Omega Point says...

smiler45, asks "When was the last time this tree was inspected by tree surgeons?"

Read the paragraph
smiler45, asks "When was the last time this tree was inspected by tree surgeons?" Read the paragraph Omega Point
  • Score: 4

11:10am Mon 29 Jul 13

Omega Point says...

Sorry, last paragraph
Sorry, last paragraph Omega Point
  • Score: 0

11:27am Mon 29 Jul 13

The OX says...

Alpha Kenny Thing wrote:
What the hell has a branch falling from a tree got to do with the police?
Joke dont you get it,
[quote][p][bold]Alpha Kenny Thing[/bold] wrote: What the hell has a branch falling from a tree got to do with the police?[/p][/quote]Joke dont you get it, The OX
  • Score: 0

11:29am Mon 29 Jul 13

ouseswimmer says...

A one off event due to the high winds experienced whilst the tree is in full leaf cover. The tree itself is clearly very healthy otherwise.
A one off event due to the high winds experienced whilst the tree is in full leaf cover. The tree itself is clearly very healthy otherwise. ouseswimmer
  • Score: 1

11:34am Mon 29 Jul 13

smiler45 says...

Omega Point wrote:
smiler45, asks "When was the last time this tree was inspected by tree surgeons?"

Read the paragraph
I need an eye test obviously :-)
[quote][p][bold]Omega Point[/bold] wrote: smiler45, asks "When was the last time this tree was inspected by tree surgeons?" Read the paragraph[/p][/quote]I need an eye test obviously :-) smiler45
  • Score: 1

11:37am Mon 29 Jul 13

smiler45 says...

Are special branch being brought in to do the investigation? :-)
Are special branch being brought in to do the investigation? :-) smiler45
  • Score: 2

12:09pm Mon 29 Jul 13

dodgydavereturns says...

smiler45 wrote:
Omega Point wrote:
smiler45, asks "When was the last time this tree was inspected by tree surgeons?"

Read the paragraph
I need an eye test obviously :-)
To be fair to you mate, there is so much drivel written in the first place due to yet again some pretty poor journalism, that you were seriously in danger of nodding off if the didn't cut it short! You could have done some irreparable harm to yourself if you had continued to the end!
[quote][p][bold]smiler45[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Omega Point[/bold] wrote: smiler45, asks "When was the last time this tree was inspected by tree surgeons?" Read the paragraph[/p][/quote]I need an eye test obviously :-)[/p][/quote]To be fair to you mate, there is so much drivel written in the first place due to yet again some pretty poor journalism, that you were seriously in danger of nodding off if the didn't cut it short! You could have done some irreparable harm to yourself if you had continued to the end! dodgydavereturns
  • Score: 0

12:47pm Mon 29 Jul 13

Oncebitten says...

Oh I do so love the way that people comment without reading the entire story.......oh how different you would all be if any injuries had happened...fickle bunch!! :-)
Oh I do so love the way that people comment without reading the entire story.......oh how different you would all be if any injuries had happened...fickle bunch!! :-) Oncebitten
  • Score: 2

6:32pm Mon 29 Jul 13

kirsty2530 says...

This story is about MY children!! The papers always report on something and police was there as it was an accident!!!!!
This story is about MY children!! The papers always report on something and police was there as it was an accident!!!!! kirsty2530
  • Score: 8

7:07pm Mon 29 Jul 13

Wiggles says...

smiler45 wrote:
I assume now this has happened they will be out cutting the tree branches back, only after something happens do they actually do anything. When was the last time this tree was inspected by tree surgeons? I assume that is something else that has become a victim of the cuts? Health & Safety is no longer an issue for York City Council but saving money is, unless they want to shell out on pointless waste of money schemes like 20 mile hour zones etc.
Nothing to do with City of York Council - the Coppergate Centre is privately owned and maintained - I do agree with you about the waste of money on the 20 mile an hour zones though.....
[quote][p][bold]smiler45[/bold] wrote: I assume now this has happened they will be out cutting the tree branches back, only after something happens do they actually do anything. When was the last time this tree was inspected by tree surgeons? I assume that is something else that has become a victim of the cuts? Health & Safety is no longer an issue for York City Council but saving money is, unless they want to shell out on pointless waste of money schemes like 20 mile hour zones etc.[/p][/quote]Nothing to do with City of York Council - the Coppergate Centre is privately owned and maintained - I do agree with you about the waste of money on the 20 mile an hour zones though..... Wiggles
  • Score: 4

10:30pm Mon 29 Jul 13

EngageBrain says...

Yep, chop it down - nothing like a knee jerk reaction to give the impression of doing something whilst achieving very little. The article is newsworthy only because such incidents are so rare. Living with nature is all well and good until it causes us issues, then we just want to kill it, sigh.
Yep, chop it down - nothing like a knee jerk reaction to give the impression of doing something whilst achieving very little. The article is newsworthy only because such incidents are so rare. Living with nature is all well and good until it causes us issues, then we just want to kill it, sigh. EngageBrain
  • Score: 2

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