High winds have torn the scaffolding from the side of a four-storey building near the Royal Free Hospital in London this afternoon as gusts of up to 60mph batter the UK.
The four-storey scaffolding construction crashed outside the hospital in Hampstead Heath, leaving a mass of tangled metal lying in the busy street, at around 3pm.
One witness at the scene said there was ‘an awful lot of screaming’ when the structure collapsed, shortly after 55mph winds hit London today.
Jay Heath 42, who saw the incident, said: ‘I had just got off the bus and it sounded like a bomb. I heard a bang and then saw a lot of smoke. A little old lady then pushed me out of the way.
‘I could see the scaffolding had all fallen off the side of the building and it was blocking off the road.’
The incident comes as winds of up to 60mph battered the east coast of England and Scotland.
The scaffolding, located near the Royal Free Hospital, in London, has collapsed. According to witnesses at the scene it was very windy today
Emergency services are currently attending at the incident in Hampstead Heath. Staff at the Royal Free Hospital were told not to go home because of the ‘major incident.’
A witness at the scene said there was ‘an awful lot of screaming’ as the large structure collapsed on the busy London street – just yards from one of the capital’s main hospitals
The scaffolding is thought to have been on the building pictured here, opposite the Royal Free Hospital, which is currently on standby
Firefighters at the scene of the scene of the incident assess the damage which occurred in London this afternoon
One teacher in the local area claimed the scaffolding has always looked ‘a bit unstable and wobbly’ since being put up a month ago.
Teacher Laura Pacheco, 24, said she was ‘freaked out’ because usually every Thursday she leads a line of 20 children to the swimming pool at the other end of Pond Street.
But luckily, today the swimming class for the five-year-old Hampstead Heath Primary School children was cancelled.
She said: ‘Every week we take around 20 kids to go swimming but thank god it was cancelled. It’s scary, it’s freaky – can you imagine?
‘We always walk underneath the scaffolding because the other side is busy with ambulances driving in and out of the hospital.
‘It has been up for around one month but it has always looked a bit unstable and wobbly.
‘That’s what made it difficult because we tried walking the children down both sides of the road and we needed to avoid the ambulances. It was very windy today.’
The busy road outside the main entrance of The Royal Free Hospital in north London is still blocked from the debris which is scattered across a zebra crossing, yards from the hospital entrance.
Mr Heath added: ‘There were about half a dozen of us there, but because it was a hospital there were paramedics on scene quickly.
‘It had collapsed all over the road. I was shocked and I hoped that nobody was under it. The manager of the café nearby shouted at us “get back, get back!”
‘It was windy. You know when you get those long gusts of strong winds? It was like that.’
A spokesman for the Met Office said general conditions in the area showed a 55mph gust was recorded in the hour to 3pm, and other gusts between 45-50mph were recorded in the two to three hours around that.
Amon Amouzandeh, 37, was driving past the hospital on his way to visit a friend when he saw the scaffolding frame.
He told MailOnline: ‘I turned the corner and saw in my wing mirror the scaffolding which had fallen into the street.
‘It was pretty windy and must have just caught it [the scaffolding frame] at the wrong angle. But there were strong winds, no question about it.
‘I can’t believe it only happened ten minutes prior to my turning up. It had all been cornered off and the people were being controlled.’
The Royal Free Hospital which is opposite the collapsed scaffolding has said they have not been required to treat any patients in relation to the incident
In the footage, emergency services can be seen attending the incident and urging people to step back from the mass of collapsed scaffolding
A large group of people are gathered behind a large cordon after the collapse of the scaffolding in London today
A number of witnesses have reported the windy conditions in the area. The Met Office confirmed general conditions in the area showed a 55mph gust was recorded in the hour to 3pm, and other gusts between 45-50mph were recorded in the two to three hours around that
The footage shows emergency services ushering members of the public away from the scaffolding. There are not thought to be any injuries, but the nearby Royal Free Hospital is on standby
Hilary Barnes told the Camden New Journal: ‘I was going up towards to Hampstead and we stopped outside M&S – thank god.
‘As we were waiting there this whole thing, it goes up the whole of the building, it started to very slowly go outward and then it buckled. It was extraordinary.
‘There was an awful lot of screaming. Ambulances were charging down there within seconds. It looked like the wind called the polythene and the scaffolding came away.
‘I am sure there will be casualties as it is so busy, with the schools and the Royal Free. There is no way any traffic is coming through there for a while.’
A police spokesman said no injuries have been reported.
A London Ambulance Service spokesman said: ‘We were called at 2:45pm today (7 March) to reports of an incident on Pond Street, Hampstead.
‘We sent an ambulance crew, an incident response officer, a single responder in a car and an advanced paramedic to the scene. We also dispatched London’s Air Ambulance and members of our Hazardous Area Response Team.
‘We are working closely with other members of the emergency services and remain at the scene.’
A spokesman for the Royal Free Hospital said: ‘We are on standby following the collapse of scaffolding at a building opposite the Royal Free Hospital.
‘To date we have not been required to treat any patients in relation to the incident. We are continuing with planned appointments although transport to and from the hospital is affected.
‘Please allow extra time for your journey if you have an appointment.’