One dead after tornado rips through shipping container yard in Wiri

One person is dead and two have been injured after a tornado ripped through a Ports of Auckland shipping container yard in south Auckland this morning.

Dozens of stacked shipping containers collapsed when a tornado hit the area around 8.30am.

Police are currently at the site on Wiri Station Rd, Wiri. However, it is understood the fallen shipping containers may not be directly responsible for the death. Fire and Emergency also confirmed they were attending the scene.

The two injured people were rushed to Middlemore Hospital.

Worksafe have been notified and police say they are also making enquiries into the incident.

Ports of Auckland spokesman Matt Ball says the damage is widespread in the yard and dozens of containers have toppled over.

One container weighing 30 tonnes was lifted by the wind. Signs from the neighbouring motorway were also blown onto the site.

“We’re very shocked by what is a horrendous freak event and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the people who’ve been affected,” Ball said.

“This will be difficult for our staff. They’re not just affected by what’s happened at work, many of them also live in the area.

“We’re providing as much support as we can for our people to help them through this.”

The recovery job at the site will also be difficult, Ball said.

“There’s a lot of damage in terms of containers and things like that lying around, so we’ll get specialist help to get that back up and running. There is a mixture of full and empty containers on the site.

Ports of Auckland issued a statement explaining its South Auckland freight hub was hit by the tornado.

“These people are not Ports of Auckland staff or staff from the Ports of Auckland subsidiary Conlinxx, which operates the freight hub,” the Ports statement read.

“The tornado caused significant damage to the site and dislodged multiple containers.

“We are shocked by this freak event and our thoughts are with the people affected.”

One witness said: “It was carnage through the rail yard. They were all staged out the front of the yard.

“Workers were standing around looking quite distraught. There were three ambulances and a specialist response team, multiple police.

“One person has been removed by ambulance from the scene I’ve seen. They were working on someone in the back of the ambulance. Multiple containers had been blown over.”

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