United Kingdom

Women seriously injured after 60ft tree crashed on top of them at birthday party during Storm Evert

Two women aged in their 20s were seriously injured when a tree crashed on top of them during a doctor's birthday party being held in woodland clearing.

The 60ft tall oak crashed to the ground without warning and trapped the women at 6.35pm on Friday at the private party in Ubbeston near Halesworth, Suffolk.

Villagers were earlier told that the party was being held for 'a group of mainly doctors letting off steam and enjoying themselves after a very difficult year'.

The two women from the London area were given first aid at the scene by a number of doctors and medics who were at the party and camping in the field.

The falling tree is said to have been partially deflected by crashing on a bar and a stage which took much of its weight and meant five other people in the area escaped injury.

Suffolk Police said one of the women sustained spinal and head injuries, while the other had pelvic and arm injuries.

It came as Storm Evert battered Britain and wreaked havoc across the country with 75mph gales and torrential rain.

The Met Office has issued another yellow weather warnings for thunderstorms in large parts of the country today with the risk of flooding.

Forecasters warned thunderstorms could lead to travel disruption on Saturday afternoon and evening.

Two women were seriously injured after a tree crashed down at a private party on Friday. Pictured: Police cordon at the woods where the tree fell in Ubbeston near Halesworth, Suffolk

The event was held in a wood beside a field behind 19th century Ubbeston Hall farmhouse (pictured) which is the home of a relative of the party organiser who threw the bash nearby

The organiser of the party yesterday who was celebrating his 27th birthday said both women were now in a 'stable' condition in hospitals outside the area.

The event was held in a wood beside a field behind 19th century Ubbeston Hall farmhouse which is the home of a relative of the party organiser.

Guests are said to have made a campsite in a field beside the wood on Thursday in preparation for a weekend of celebrations.

The party organiser who asked not to be identified said: 'The music had only just started playing and we heard a big crash.

'The tree fell down in the actual wood and luckily landed on the stage and bar area which broke the fall of it, but it still landed across the clearing. That is why it hit the two girls.

'It was in the wooded area and about five or ten metres back from the bar. It was completely uprooted.

Pictured: The entrance to the field and woods where the private birthday party was held

'Neither of them were trapped, although obviously firefighters came as a precautionary measure. Five other people had a lucky escape because they were not injured at all.

'We did basic management to both patients. I don't want to go into much detail of their condition and treatment that they got.

'I have had a birthday party here every year for the last six years. At the time there were only around 30 people here.

'The is a real tragedy. It just wasn't supposed to happen.'

The organiser said it had been raining before the tree fell, which potentially caused water to increase the weight of its foliage.

He added that it did not appear windy on the ground, although gusts could have been affecting the top of the tree canopy

The Met Office has issued a further yellow weather warning as Storm Evert continues to batter Britain. Pictured: Commuters caught in a downpour on Newcastle's Quayside this morning

Large parts of the country were hit with heavy wind and rain yesterday. Pictured: Storm Evert causes major damage to a campsite at Camp Bestival at Lulworth Castle in Wareham, Dorset

The organiser said: 'We had got a tree surgeon to come along to the clearing and clear out all the areas of dead wood in the interests of safety before the event – but it was a living tree that came down.'

He said he did not want to identify the two women, but he confirmed that the wee not medics and came from the London area

Tree surgeons were back at the site today, cutting up the remains of the tree as party guests cleared up their camping gear.

A villager who asked not to be named said: 'There had been some concern in the area because we were told to expect party noise over four days.

'Some people were concerned about the noise of music on Thursday night, although I did not hear anything.

'There was an exchange of emails between the organiser and some people in the village. He gave an assurance that the music would be turned down at midnight and there would no music after 2am each day.

Pictured: Racegoers shelter from the rain during day five of the Goodwood Festival

The disaster took place as Storm Evert battered most parts of the UK with high winds and rain. Pictured: People out and about on a wet day on a boat in Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire

'Someone from the village did go up there because there were concerns, and he came away very impressed about how courteous everybody was and how it was well planned.

'People were told that it was a group of mainly doctors letting off steam and enjoying themselves after a very difficult year.'

Suffolk Police spokesperson said: 'Police received a report at about 6.35pm on Friday that an oak tree had fallen at Ubbeston and injured two females in the process.

'Fire, ambulance and the air ambulance were also called to the scene. It is understood the pair were in attendance with others at a private outdoor party.

'The two victims, aged in their 20s, sustained serious injuries in the incident.

'One casualty has sustained spinal and head injuries, while the second casualty sustained pelvic and arm injuries. Both casualties have been taken to hospital for treatment.'

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