August 24, 2017 / 10:30 PM / a month ago

Irish woman escapes landslide that threw car through kitchen wall

Bernie Kearney's home is seen, after a landslide carrying a boulder and her car came through the house, during torrential rains in Urris, County Donegal, Ireland August 24, 2017. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

URRIS, Ireland (Reuters) - Torrential rains in northwest Ireland, described by the country’s weather office as a once-in-a-century event, triggered a landslide that sent a car flying through the wall of a house earlier this week.

No casualties have been reported as a result of the rains on Tuesday, which totaled up to 80 mm (3 inches). Bridges collapsed, homes flooded and authorities moved to deploy defense forces in flood-hit areas from Friday.

Bernie Kearney, a medical receptionist who lives in the northern county of Donegal, was dining alone in her kitchen on Tuesday evening when a landslide hit the hill beside her house.

Kearney said in a telephone interview that she heard a loud bang and “the kitchen tumbled in around me.”

Bernie Kearney's home is seen, after a landslide carrying a boulder and her car came through the house, during torrential rains in Urris, County Donegal, Ireland August 24, 2017. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

“I’ll never forget it. It was terrible. The roar of it coming down the mountain. I didn’t know what it was.”

Kearney escaped by climbing out a window. She was not injured.

Slideshow (21 Images)

In the light of day, Kearney discovered that the landslide had thrown a boulder against her car, pushing it into her kitchen.

The damage was captured in Reuters pictures on Thursday that show her silver hatchback sitting high on a pile of mud and rubble, with its roof touching the eaves of her bungalow. The property has been condemned.

Kearney is staying with relatives while searching for alternate accommodation and dealing with her insurers. Local authorities have been attempting to clear rubble from the property.

Additional reporting by Clodagh Kilcoyne; Writing by Mark Hanrahan in London; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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