Driver uninjured after tree falls on ice cream van in Garboldisham

A driver emerged from his ice cream van in a state of shock yesterday after a tree smashed down on to the front of the vehicle as he sat in it.

The man had been driving along the A1066 at Garboldisham, between Thetford and Diss, when it happened at about 11.10am.

An eye witness, who heard a loud crack as the tree fell, said she looked out of her bedroom window to see it embedded in the front of the van.

The woman, who rushed out of her house along with other villagers, said she spoke to the driver who was uninjured.

She said: 'He seemed in shock. His words to me were 'I'm lucky to get out of it alive. A few inches more and I would be dead'.'

The tree had smashed the windscreen and the front of the van.

The emergency services were called and a local farmer took a chain saw to the scene to help police chop up the tree which was lying across the road, blocking it.

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An ambulance attended and spent some time with the distraught driver but did not take him to hospital.

The eyewitness said it was also a lucky escape for a tractor driver travelling behind the ice cream van. He had let the vehicle out in front of him at a junction just before the tree fell.

The witness added: 'The tractor only had a soft top. It could have killed him.'

There were no pedestrians in the area at the time of the accident and a police spokesman confirmed no one was hurt.

It is thought a large gust of wind brought the tree down.

Villagers are now concerned about the safety of a remaining tree on that road. There were originally three trees in a row close to the junction with Hopton Road and, after one fell a few years ago, there were calls for them all to be felled.

Local people reported yesterday's accident had left the roots of the final remaining tree looking disturbed.

'They were three very lanky trees but they are very big at the bottom. Once again, a little bit of wind and it's down. We're worried it's loosened the roots of the next tree. It's really swaying,' said the villager.

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