Stadium roof collapses in Invercargill

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The remains of Stadium Southland's roof. Photo / Malcolm Gayfer, Weatherwatch.co.nz
The remains of Stadium Southland's roof. Photo / Malcolm Gayfer, Weatherwatch.co.nz

Heavy snowfall has caused the roof of Invercargill's stadium to collapse.

Stadium Southland, which houses an indoor cycling velodrome, lost its roof and suffered significant damage this morning.

The Fire Service was called to the scene at about 11.30am and the building evacuated.

Stadium manager Nigel Skelt told TV3 it was a sad day for Invercargill.

"The building is an iconic one and we have lost it."

He said a group of young tennis players in the building - which is only 10 years old - were lucky not to have been killed or injured.

Southland Civil Defence group controller Neil Cruickshank said the stadium had suffered major damage to the roof and the structural integrity of the building had been compromised.

Between 10-20cm of snow has fallen in coastal parts of Southland and residents are asked to remain in their homes and only travel in urgent cases because of the threat of ice on the roads.

With the dense snow there was concern for other roofs around the city, but not to the extent they could collapse, Mr Cruickshank said.

However, there have been no reports of injuries.

Weatherwatch.co.nz's Philip Duncan says a bitterly cold wind-flow is causing heavy snowfall and some people have said it's the heaviest they've seen in decades.

Newstalk ZB reporter Malcolm Gayfer said people at the scene told him it looked to be a major rebuild on at least part of the stadium.

An employee working at the stadium when the roof came in said he planned on buying a Lotto ticket after surviving the collapse of the roof. Brad Sycamore was luckily with another workmate behind reception when it happened.

Reports are also saying the roof of the Windsor New World supermarket in Invercargill has caved in due to the weight of all the snow.

Snow has been falling over coastal Southland this morning, and according to MetService, 10-15cm of snow may accumulate in some areas by 6pm.

An nzherald.co.nz reader in Invercargill said in addition to overnight snow, snowfalls had been heavy and constant since 8am.

"Three-plus inches at a guess and still snowing heavily," Allan Beck said.

- NEWSTALK ZB, NZHERALD STAFF, NZPA

- Newstalk ZB

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