RESIDENTS of a suburb in Suva counted their lucky stars after escaping injuries when a freak whirlwind ripped through the area.
Residents of Ono St in Samabula were caught off-guard when the freak whirlwind damaged powerlines and property.
Witnesses said the whirlwind lasted a matter of seconds but left a trail of destruction.
Krishneel Byas, 21, a resident of a block of flats in the area, said the whirlwind damaged powerlines and blew the roof off one of the flats.
"The whirlwind came around the front of the flats and then circled around to the back flat where it blew steel beams from the roof right across the road to the Sikh Temple," he said.
His roommate Rajnil Raj said their other flatmates were sitting inside their flat when whirlwind blew the doors open.
"We thought it was a hurricane when we heard the wind coming," he said.
"Luckily there were no cars on the road and nobody walking by when it happened because otherwise they would have been badly hurt," said Mr Raj
He said the flats had been without power, however, the Fiji Electricity Authority began their repairs late yesterday afternoon.
A whirlwind is a weather phenomenon in which a vertical rotating column of air forms because of instabilities and turbulence created by heating and flow gradients.