A South Tyneside restaurant owner came close to losing his life when his £25K Range Rover was showered by heavy bricks during Storm Malik.
Russel Choudary, 40, from South Shields, had just moved his vehicle to the opposite side of his street to protect it from slates flying from a nearby house.
But as soon as he had done so, gale force winds caused dozens of bricks to fall onto his 4×4 – completely destroying it.
The dad-of-two, who owns a restaurant and lives in the Roman Road area of town, says he “feels very lucky to be alive” following Saturday’s incident.
He said: “I am devastated, but if I had moved it just a minute earlier, I would have been killed. There’s no way I would have survived. I feel very lucky to be alive.
“I had just moved the car across the road because slates were coming off my neighbour’s roof.
“No sooner did I reach my front door, the bricks came crashing down. I could have been inside that car. It doesn’t bear thinking about.”
Russel is now waiting to see if he will be able to claim for the damage on his insurance.
Mr Choudary had owned the Range Rover Evoke for two years. It was his pride and joy, as well as being vital to his business.
He added: “I really hope it gets sorted soon because my vehicle is essential for work.
“I need it to transport food, and also for my staff. But really, things could have been so much worse.”
The whole South Tyneside area was badly affected by the storm with the council confirming its staff were dealing with reports of fallen trees at more than 40 locations around the borough.
A spokesperson for the council said: “Teams have once again sprung into action in response to severe weather and are continuing to do all they can to keep people and property safe.”
The Met Office revealed gusts of 93mph had been recorded at Brizlee Wood in Northumberland – a gable end collapsed onto two women in Gateshead. Both required hospital treatment.
In Bensham, a whole roof was blown from a property. The metro system was completely halted for a while with damage reported across Teesside, Tyne and Wear and County Durham. More than 30,000 people were left without power following the storm.