Homeowners said they thought “the roof had fallen in” when an oil tanker crashed into their property in Beauly this afternoon.
Seven fire crews, as well as a heavy rescue team, police and ambulance crews rushed to the scene after an oil tanker slammed into the wall of the former Scotmid on High Street.
The driver of the Johnston Oil tanker was airlifted to hospital following the crash, which took place at around 12.45pm.
It is understood that a passer-by had to cut the driver’s seat belt with a knife to get him out of the vehicle.
Iain Campbell, who has lived in the property where the tanker struck for 70 years, thought the roof had fallen in when he heard a “loud bang” from above his head.
The 75-year-old said: “I was home minding my own business. I had been doing a little bit of preparation for the dinner and answering phones same as anybody else.
“I knew it was more than just a loud bang. I thought, has the roof fallen in?
“We did happen to have boys in doing work on the roof at the back, routine maintenance work and an electrician doing rewiring.
“We thought the boys on the roof had dropped something actually of a heavy nature.
“Then a minute or two later they came running in, “come out and see this, come out and see this”, and sure enough we looked out and there was a tanker stuck in the door of the old Co-op grocery.
“We spoke to the building control people, they came out and had a look and the police chased us off at that point.”
‘It’s a miracle no one got hurt’
Shoppers were evacuated from The Corner on the Square deli as the tanker hit the old Co-op building, while people passing on the street were left “shaking” of the thought “they could have died”.
The street was cornered off until late in the evening with teams working on removing the vehicle from the wall.
Part of a concreate wall along the street – stained with the tankers paint work – has been completely knocked over and there is debris strewn across the road.
Mr Campbell added: “Of course, one of our bedrooms above there is occupied, so we won’t be able to use that, as naturally, we don’t know if its structurally sound with something that size going in.
“There has been more damage to the property in the past than what has happened now.
“We are not going to lose sleep over anything, we have been through all that before.
“When you get to a certain age, you are a lot more resilient than you were perhaps when you were younger, when it comes to things. You just say ‘What’s different today? Oh yes, the building has fallen down.
“The driver had a miraculous escape and so did the passenger.”
His wife Catherine Beaton added that it’s a “miracle” nobody was killed and the most important thing is that everybody involved in the incident is alright.
The 70-year-old said: “As long as the drivers and that are alright, I’m not bothered. That’s all that matters.
“How somebody wasn’t killed in that, it’s a miracle as the square is so busy at that of day. I cannot believe that no one got hurt. It’s a miracle.
“We are just glad there was no loss of life. We are not worried about anything else.”