THE family of the New Zealander killed by a falling branch at Kew Gardens have expressed their sadness at her death and thanked emergency services for their attempts to save her.
Wellington women Erena Louise Wilson, an accounts manager, died instantly when hit by a falling tree branch in the London park.
“We are very saddened by the death of our beloved Erena Louise Wilson,” the family said in a statement.
They wished to express their sincere thanks to the emergency services in England, “whom we are told did a remarkable job with their attendance to the scene and their attempts to revive Erena”.
“Our thanks to the police and The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and New Zealand High Commission, both in New Zealand and England, for their promptness at getting in touch with and keeping her mother informed and arranging for Victim Support Services, who were with her immediately”.
“Please respect our wishes for privacy at this time, while we come to terms with our loss and as we make arrangements for Erena to be returned home”.
The 31-year-old was visiting the Royal Botanical Gardens with two friends on Sunday, when there was a “loud crack like thunder” during winds of up to 50 kmh, Fairfax NZ reported.
Her friends looked up to see a 30cm thick branch crashing down.
They managed to run to safety, but when they turned around they were horrified to see Wilson lying face down and surrounded by branches.
She died instantly from “non-survivable head injuries” , the West London Coroner’s Court heard.
She worked for a firm in Southall and lived in Hanwell.
An autopsy found the cause of her death to be multiple injuries.
Her death was being investigated by the Health and Safety Executive.
The tree was next to a footpath that leads to the Orangery restaurant in the botanic gardens.
First on the scene was Metropolitan Police inspector Simon Young, who explained that statements were taken from Wilson’s friends Tessa and Sean Britton.
He said: “They stated they were walking along a path and heard a loud crack believing it was thunder or something similar to that.
“They looked up and saw the tree branch descending.
“They then ran and then looked back around and the lady was on the floor in an uncomfortable position, to say the least.
“There were lots of branches all around her.”
Her mother lived in Auckland and father in Australia, while a UK-based uncle was helping organise the repatriation of her body.
The gardens were closed on Monday but re-opened to the public today.
West London Coroner Alison Thompson adjourned the inquest without fixing the date of the next hearing.