Video: Tornado touches down on West Coast

A tornado in the distance near Ross township (Sam Wanrooy)
A tornado in the distance near Ross township (Sam Wanrooy)

Two gold miners were trapped in the eye of a large tornado as it hit land on the West Coast yesterday. 

Joe Ngaamo was working on the Ross mining operation, near Totara River when he saw the tornado build up steam out at sea for 15 minutes and then hit land around 4pm.

He along with another worker, Sam Wanrooy, were caught in the path of its fury, filming the entire ordeal as it passed right over top of them.  

He's heard in the video yelling at Sam to "Get out of the way bro, hop on the screen". 

"I was in the digger feeding the screen and just watched it slowly come up across the road and up the farm," Ngaamo says. "It just came off the sea and worked its way up slowly and zig-zagged and finally got here and blew the windows out of the truck." 

The truck's back windows were smashed and are now being repaired in Greymouth. 

Meanwhile, the power of the strong winds also ripped up trees and scattered debris across the Cook family's farm. They could only watch as it came in from the sea ripping through their farm, lasting around 40 seconds.   

"We just saw them getting picked up and twisted around and getting thrown out of its path -- pretty impressive", says Jake Cook.

 "Granddad was sitting there and he said he's never seen one like that before," he says.

An operations manager, Tim Madden, was filming the tornado from an airstrip 250 metres away. 

A once-in-a-lifetime event, caught on camera for the world to see.

Watch the video.