A ‘massive crash’ could be heard as a mosque tower which was damaged during Storm Eunice eventually collapsed.
A minaret at Greengate Jamia Masjid in Oldham had hung precariously since yesterday afternoon, when gale force winds battered Greater Manchester.
It was deemed too unsafe for recovery work to be undertaken yesterday, with inclement weather continuing.
The mosque had arranged for work to be undertaken this afternoon, to safely remove the minaret.
But before workers could arrive, the minaret, which had been held up by a steel column, fell to the ground.
Navaid Afzal, secretary of the mosque, said he was relieved no-one was hurt, but fears there could be a hefty bill as its roof was damaged by the falling tower.
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“I was stood there chatting, and all of a sudden I heard this thunder, and a big crash,” he said.
“I thought flipping heck, it’ was like a plane had come down or something.
“To be honest I can’t thank the authorities enough for what they did, they instantly put a cordon in.
“It could have easily killed someone.”
Another witness heard a ‘massive crash’ as the minaret fell onto a concrete area near the mosque, damaging the roof on its way down.
Police attended yesterday and erected a 50 metre cordon around the site, and advised nearby residents to stay inside.
Prayers have been held at the nearby Greengate Islamic College while the cordon has remained in place.
The damage to the minaret came as an amber weather warning for strong winds was in force for the region last night.
Trees were felled, causing disruption and damage on the roads and on train lines.
Several people were killed in tragic incidents across the country.
A woman in her 30s was killed after a tree fell on a car in north London, a man in his 50s died in Merseyside after debris hit the windscreen of a vehicle he was travelling in, and a man in his 20s died in Hampshire after a car collided with a tree.