Matamata boy whipped up in tornado

Photo: File.

A Waikato boy has had a lucky escape after he was swept up into the air by a tornado on his way home from school yesterday.

George Jeffrey, 13, from Matamata Intermediate was walking back home from school when he was lifted into the air by the twister.

"I just saw my friend run behind the house and then I just turned around and I just get picked up by the tornado and just thrown backwards," George said.

The ordeal lasted for about 30 seconds before he was dumped into gravel and grazed on one side of his body, he said.

"I was just screaming ... When I hit the ground I just got up as fast as I could and ran behind the nearest house," George said.

"I was just real scared."

The owner of the house along with nearby witnesses and workers came over to help the shocked boy.

"They said that there was a trampoline that went over the top of me and I went [up] two metres in the air," he said.

George's mum Linda Burton, who was at a nearby friend's house during the incident, said her former boss spotted him as he was picked up by the tornado.

"She rang me and she said 'oh Linda, George's been lifted up by a tornado!' and I said 'What tornado?'

"I was oblivient that we had a storm or wind or anything. She said he's been lifted up and hurt himself.

"She was driving down the road and all she saw was this trampoline heading towards his way and thinking 'God, I hope it's not gonna hit him'," Ms Burton said.

The trampoline was not the only danger George faced during his ordeal, his mother said.

"By the sounds of it he's moved along because he's scraped himself down one side [of his body] and he said he nearly hit a power pole as well."

When Ms Burton arrived home, she comforted and bandaged George but was still taken aback by what had happened.

"He was quite in a shocking state, crying and what not ... He was pretty upset and shocked"

The workers who helped George after the incident bumped into Ms Burton the following day and described to her the "unbelievable" scene they witnessed.

"[They said a] big branch, which was half a tree, had broken off at the other side and hit a car, the fence came down, they said their truck was on the road as well, which wiped their mirrors into the truck.

"They said it just happened so quick and it was gone so quick.

The bizarre incident left the boy shaken for hours later, Ms Burton said.

"We were sitting on the couch after everything had happened ... and the wind got up again and it was still light and just the look on George's face, he sort of went a bit pale and thinking 'Oh God, here comes the wind again."

She said he was lucky to escape the tornado and not have hit into anything.



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