Business, Economics and Jobs

Deadly tornado strikes New Zealand (VIDEO)


The damaged Albany MegaCentre after a tornado struck the area on May 3, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand. At least two people have been confirmed dead after the tornado struck around 3pm.


Phil Walter

A tornado has ripped through New Zealand's largest city, killing at least two, tearing off roofs, flattening trees and tossing vehicles around.

The swirling dark grey column of air cut a three-mile path across the Auckland suburb of Albany on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press, quoting police and residents.

Auckland generally gets one or two tornadoes a year, according to New Zealand's ministry of civil defence, though they tend to be smaller than those seen in the U.S. midwest.

In February, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit Christchurch, on the south island, killing 181 people and causing about $11 billion in damage.

Tuesday's tornado reportedly destroyed a shopping mall, a large hardware store and a supermarket were hit.

"There were kids in a car which turned upside down and they had to get help," said a witness, Hamish Blair. "There's probably six or seven seriously damaged cars, and I saw cars flying off the ground about [100cfeet] in the air."

Auckland's mayor, Len Brown, told Radio New Zealand: "We've got our fingers crossed that injuries are limited and that there are no further fatalities."