A mini twister tore through a beachside market on Sunday, blowing one tent above the trees and terrifying customers and stallholders.
Bill Radley, who co-ordinates the monthly Marine Rescue market at Batehaven’s Corrigans Reserve, said the sudden 100 km/h twister blew one canopy 30 metres into the air, above the tree line, shortly after 11am.
“I had been having a conversation about what a fantastic day we were having, without wind or rain, when I saw a puff of wind,” Mr Radley said.
“You could see the trees along Beach Road suddenly move.
“That was all it was, but then next thing I knew, this thing came through.
“I could only describe it as a tornado.
“It ripped tents from the ground and threw them in the air.
“I turned to the guy I had been talking to and his tent would be at least 80 to 100 feet in the air and going around in circles - the frame, the roof, the lot.
“I could not believe it. It was really scary.
“The tent went way above the tree line and headed towards the playground.
“It went around the trees and landed near the Marine Rescue tent, near the roadway.”
Mr Radley said Marine Rescue’s two tents were tied together, but both were blown into the air, before smashing back to earth.
“Our tents crashed on the ground and people were screaming,” he said.
“It took everything with it, including the tables.
“They were all thrown into the air.”
Mr Radley said other canopies lost their roofs.
He understood no one was badly hurt, although he had heard one person suffered cuts to their arms and another was struck in the face by a flying object.
Rural Fire Service members stationed at the nearby Seaside Carnivale ran to the scene and, with others, checked on everyone’s welfare.
Mr Radley estimated the twister’s speed at 100 km/h.
“Apparently, it came in from the sea, then cut a little path through our market, no more than six or eight metres wide,” he said.
He said the wind last no more than 15 seconds.
One Marine Rescue tent was beyond repair and another stall holder’s canopy was “demolished”.
More in Wednesday's Bay Post/Moruya Examiner.