The conditions of the two toddlers most seriously hurt when a large tree toppled on a kids' play area in Auckland this afternoon have improved.
Both children were taken by ambulance to Starship Hospital, with one listed as critical and the other serious, along with a third child with moderate injuries. A fourth child, who suffered minor injuries, was also taken to Starship by its parents.
An Auckland District Health Board spokeswoman confirmed this evening the two worst hurt children were in stable conditions.
She did not have further information, but confirmed the update meant the condition of both children had improved.
There was no information on the two other children, indicating neither had been admitted, she said.
The dramatic incident unfolded at Discoveries Educare in the Auckland suburb of Newmarket just after 1.30pm today, and left parents facing their worst nightmare.
Parents of four children were told their children had been hurt when the tree toppled into a playground crowded with 25 of the 47 or 48 children enrolled at the daycare.
The tree struck a playhouse and kids' toys lay scattered around the area after the uninjured children were ushered inside, checked and given afternoon tea to calm any fears.
A manager at the daycare, which employs about 10 staff, travelled to hospital with the injured children, while ambulance crews inside checked all children who were outside when the tree fell.
St John Ambulance Auckland central territory manager Simon Barnett said parents were given information on concussion symptoms and what to do if they became concerned.
"It's purely precautionary."
He would not give information on the age or sex of the injured toddlers. He also would not confirm the nature of their injuries.
But earlier Fire Service spokesman Colin Underdown said at least two children received head injuries.
News of the incident spread quickly and many worried parents rushed to check on their children.
Discoveries Educare owner Ajit Singh told the Herald late this afternoon he had been to Starship.
"Two are with minor injuries and are going to be fine, thank god. Two others are being taken care of but they are more stable."
He was not able to speak with parents at the hospital as they wanted to remain with their children.
A daycare teacher told him that no children were hit by the trunk, but instead may have been struck by branches.
"The manager said no one was underneath."
A shocked Singh said their focus was on the staff, children and families.
"It's a horrible thing."
He praised the daycare's teachers for their "great job of keeping self-composed".
Staff had immediately begun calling parents, but not all could be reached before news of the incident was reported in the media.
His staff were doing OK, Singh said, but he had spoken to the Ministry of Education and they had advised Discoveries should be closed tomorrow.
He did not know when they would reopen.
Singh was not aware of any previous concerns about the tree.
"I think this weather for the last two days has been so windy."
'You could see it on their faces'
Mum Vik Kumar was among those who picked up children this afternoon. Her 3-year-old son was inside when the tree fell and was not hurt.
She was alerted by a colleague as the priority of centre staff was to contact the parents of injured children first, she said.
"I just thought 'oh my god'. I can't tell you what I said."
Her son, who started at the centre last week, "just came running to me" when she arrived.
Staff had been good, but were clearly shocked.
"You could see it on their faces ... I feel for the teachers. It's not easy for them. The kids stay with them every day."
Parent Afsheen Kabir rushed to the scene after hearing what had happened.
Her daughter is 4 so she did not think she was injured. But she was still worried.
"I was still 50/50. That's why I just ran ... I really hope the children who are hurt are OK."
Shafiek Isaacs' son finished at the daycare last week. But the 5-year-old still visited his friends to play most days.
Isaacs was fighting back tears as he arrived to check on his son's friends.
"It's brought tears to my eyes because that could've been my son. Some of his friends were just at his birthday."
Expressing relief when he saw a child he recognised at the window, Isaacs said children played in the backyard all the time.
"We never heard anything about that tree. The kids loved playing under it.
"Obviously it's a freak accident, the wind just came through."
Discoveries Educare owns at least 12 different daycare centres around Auckland.
MP David Seymour: 'It's very distressing'
Epsom MP David Seymour sent his thoughts to the children and families involved.
"It's very distressing to hear of the injuries and my thoughts are with these toddlers and their families. I'm sure all people who've heard this news are hoping for a speedy recovery.
"My office is right next door so I see these children and their parents regularly. This news puts into perspective what issues matter."
He hoped to visit the daycare soon.
Police handed the scene over to WorkSafe investigators this afternoon.