18 Nov 2013

'Mini-tornado' hits Sydney shopping centre

8:31 pm on 18 November 2013

Eleven people have been injured after what has been described as a mini-tornado hit a shopping centre, library and train station in Australia.

Emergency services were called to the Westfield complex in Hornsby, northwest Sydney, about 3pm on Monday following reports that the roof of the cinema had collapsed.

The shopping centre was evacuated and fire and rescue crews searched the building.

Emergency services initially feared that people may be trapped. However, they confirmed that no one was inside the building at the time of the collapse.

A woman named Angela lives near the Westfield shopping centre and told ABC that she saw part of the cinema's roof being torn off.

"Debris sort of going up in a spiral into the sky so it looked like a mini tornado," she said.

Another woman, Heather, was inside the shopping centre at the time. "There was this noise like a roar almost and we sort of all stood still," she said.

Among the injured was a 51-year-old woman who was hit in the face by glass.

Paramedics are treating patients after the storm hit the library and train station where a demountable building was blown over.