Dust devil rips up fruit stand in Yukon village, owner thanks residents for support

George Redies was in Haines Junction selling fresh fruit when a whirlwind scattered his produce.

George Redies was in Haines Junction selling fresh fruit when a whirlwind scattered his produce

George Redies says the suddenness of the dust devil left him unsettled, but he wasn't physically hurt. (Dave Croft/CBC)

A B.C. fruit seller caught in up in dust devil in Haines Junction Thursday says it was still unsettling 24 hours later.

George Redies spends his summers in Yukon selling fresh fruit from a stand in a Whitehorse parking lot. He also travels to other communities.

Thursday afternoon he was in Haines Junction selling fruit when he said a windstorm came out of nowhere. 

Redies says people on hand tried to hold on to the tables and fruit, but were forced to run away by the dust devil, which resembles a tornado.

"Violent winds and rocks flying everywhere and the tables were falling and flipping over and I was quite worried that somebody would get hurt," he said.

Watch as the powerful dust devil completely destroys the fruit stand:

"It looked like a disaster zone there was fruit strewn over about a 200-yard radius. All over the parking lot," said Redies.

He wasn't physically harmed, but the suddenness of it continued to haunt him into Friday.

"It's just it's almost like you're in shock. Almost like you're in some kind of an accident or something, an event that you know you're not prepared for or thinking about," Redies said.

"And yeah, just today, I don't feel like quite myself," he said Friday afternoon.

Redies said he's grateful to Haines Junction residents who helped him clean up afterwards and who have already raised enough money in donations to cover the loss of the fruit and cost of repairing his tent and awnings.

Angie Charlebois says Redies' visits to the community appreciated. (Dave Croft/CBC)

Longtime Haines Junction resident Angie Charlebois said Friday local people appreciate that he regularly comes to the community with fresh fruit and other products.

The prices are comparable to or less than what's available in Whitehorse, she said.

And his fruit stand becomes a bit of a social centre, Charlebois said, as people come to shop.