Storm Otto: Baker 'lucky to be alive' after glass fell from Whitley Bay metro station roof

Part of the roof at Whitley Bay Metro Station was smashed in the strong wind. Credit: The Sustenance Society bakery

A baker from North Shields has said she is "lucky to be alive" after a pane of glass fell from the ceiling of the metro station she was selling pastries from.

Storm Otto, the first named storm of the year, has brought winds of up to 70mph to the region, causing disruption.

  • Watch Kris Jepson's report on Storm Otto

Angelika Taic, who runs The Sustenance Society bakery with her partner Ben Gray, was selling baked goods from their weekly stall at Whitley Bay Metro Station.

The 38-year-old heard a "weird noise" at around 8:15am, followed by the glass falling from the station's lobby ceiling.

She said she moved out of the way as just the right time, or she would have been hit by the glass.

Angelika Taic said the glass fell through her market stall. Credit: The Sustenance Society bakery

Ms Taic said: "Two panes of glass just above my head and the metal support that holds them together fell where I was standing.

"It smashed through one of the tables and also damaged a planter base nearby.

"I just moved just in time and with the right reaction so it was really, really really close.

"I was in shock for quite some time.

"There was a customer with me. She just started screaming afterwards in pure shock at what could have happened.

"There were a lot of people there as well. There were people getting tickets, people talking to me, people on the platform, it's just extremely dangerous.

"That table could have been my skull and it was just on the floor just where I was standing.

"It's just incredible how lucky I am."

Ms Taic said all of her baked goods were covered in glass. Credit: The Sustenance Society bakery

The glass reportedly fell through a table on their market stall and glass shattered all over the baked goods, making them unsellable.

The baker is now hoping Nexus, which owns the station, will offer compensation.

Ms Taic said: "There was a first lot of goods that we were selling. We are now calculating how much damage that was because it was completely covered in tiny little shards of glass.

"I really hope they will offer some compensation for the goods that we had to throw away. Also the other premises that cannot operate today, such as the ticket office (bar)- they are also entitled to some compensation, but we'll see."

Ms Taic added the roof in Whitley Bay Metro Station had been a problem before and had been damaged during Storm Arwen in November 2021.

Ms Taic runs The Sustenance Society bakery with her partner Ben Gray. Credit: The Sustenance Society bakery

Nexus told ITV Tyne Tees that there are plans to renew the Grade II listed building this summer costing £4.5 million.

A Nexus spokesperson said: “There was an incident during very high winds in Storm Otto this morning when two panes of glass fell from the canopy at Whitley Bay station.   

"While we understand that nobody was hurt we know this was a worrying incident for customers on the concourse at the time.  

"We’ve been in contact with the bakery to make sure everyone at their pop-up stall is okay.  

"“We closed the station immediately and our on-site team made the area safe. We will be carrying out a detailed inspection over the next few days and we will not re-open the station until we are sure it is safe to do so.  

"As a result we’re telling customers to use nearby Cullercoats or Monkseaton stations as alternatives until Wednesday at the earliest.

“The canopy is due to be replaced this year in a project costing up to £4.5 million. 

"The canopy was thoroughly surveyed by external engineers working at height at the end of 2021 and since then our own engineers have carried out monthly inspections to assess the condition of the glass, as well as close-range surveys using drones with the most recent of these being in November.  

“The small portico at the front of the station was damaged in Storm Arwen in 2021, and we had increased our inspections of the canopy following previous storms but had found nothing to suggest an incident of the kind we saw in today’s extreme weather.”

Whitley Metro Station has now been closed while repairs take place.

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