Kiwi killed in Kew Gardens accident

A New Zealand woman was crushed to death by a falling branch at London's Kew Gardens as wild weather pounded the region, prompting the gardens to close its gates.

The woman, who was believed to living in the city, died about 2.10pm on Sunday (Local time) as she walked through the botanic gardens in southwest London.

Gary Baker, who was walking nearby when the woman was crushed, told the Daily Mail newspaper that the branch came crashing down from an 18-metre tree along a footpath leading to a restaurant in the gardens in southwest London.

"There was a bang and I jumped around at what sounded like three or four gunshots," he said.

When he turned around he saw the woman face-down on the ground with a thick branch beside her.

"I didn't see it hit the woman but it was quite clear she was badly hurt. Someone shouted call an ambulance as she lay face down on the ground."

He helped give her CPR but she could not be revived.

A London Metropolitan police spokesman told APNZ that the woman, believed to be in her 30s, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The death had been referred to the coroner, who would then release her name.

The UK's Health and Safety Executive - which looks into workplace accidents - would "probably" look at it, he said.

There was nothing criminal or suspicious about the death, he said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed that it was aware of the death of a New Zealander in London and the ministry was providing consular advice and support to her family.

There was bad weather on Sunday, with winds reaching up 50km/h, it was reported.

Early on Monday morning (local time) Kew Gardens said it would not be opening for the day.

The Met Office issued a severe weather warning for London and the southeast predicting heavy rain and winds gusting up to 80km/h.

"As a precaution, Kew Gardens will not be open to the public today. We apologies for any inconvenience or disappointment this may cause," it said on its website.

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