A YOUNG girl had to be rescued today after a tree crashed down on top of a car.

The two-year-old was freed from the car by Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service, after the 50ft beech tree smashed down across Freemantle Common Road in Southampton.

The people carrier was being driven by a childminder along towards Spring Road when the tree came down.

The girl was in the back of the car and was trapped by a branch which came through the window and over her legs.

The rescue team had to cut away a 10-inch thick branch in order to release the girl, who has been described as "very distressed".

The childminder and another toddler in the car had managed to escape the vehicle before the rescue teams arrived.

The incident happened at 2.20pm and the girl was taken to Southampton General Hospital as a precaution.

Two appliances from Hightown, a Special Equipment Unit from Redbridge and the Urban Search and Rescue Chainsaw Team was also called to the scene, although they were not used.

Crew manager Alan Miller, said: "When we turned up and saw the size of the tree and how it had fallen on the car, I thought we would have trouble getting her out.

"It was difficult to keep her calm as she was obviously very distressed."