Chimps escape enclosure at Belfast Zoo during Storm Erik

Chimpanzees at the Belfast Zoo in Northern Ireland roamed freely after escaping their enclosure with the help of a large limb blown into the area by Storm Erik on Saturday.

Families were shocked when they came across an escaped chimp. One mum Danielle Monaghan said she was "petrified" the animal might "attack or take the kids".

Video posted to Facebook shows chimpanzees climbing a tree branch, which conveniently fell against the enclosure wall, before jumping and catching the lip of the concrete wall. A second clip shows one of the animals roaming freely near a internal road. Four animals made the escape, according to an eyewitness who spoke to the BBC.

Alan Cairns, a zoo spokesperson, told media that the chimpanzees were only briefly out of their enclosures as zoo personnel were on hand to return them. Alan Cairns told BBC the animals returned to their enclosure on their own accord.

The branch used by the escapees fell into the enclosure due to the high winds delivered by Storm Erik. Gust reached more than 70 miles per hour in Northern Ireland on February 8 due to the storm, the Met Office reported.

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Storm Erik
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Storm Erik
Storm Erik makes landfall in Prestwick, Scotland.
Gale-force winds from Storm Erik cause disruption
A 75mph gust was measured by the Met Office in Powys, Wales, on Saturday morning.
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Gale-force winds from Storm Erik cause disruption
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Storm Erik was welcomed with open arms in some areas…
Photographers capture the rough seas at Newhaven, as Storm Erik hits the south coast
A photographer captures Storm Erik, as large waves and rough seas hit Newhaven in East Sussex on February 8th 2019
Storm Erik creates large waves and rough seas at Newhaven in East Sussex on February 8th 2019
Storm Erik creates large waves and rough seas at Newhaven in East Sussex on February 8th 2019
Tourists brave the strong winds and rain on Millennium Bridge in central London, as Storm Erik brought strong winds to parts of the country.
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 09: Storm damage is seen on a terraced house on Foundry Street where high winds have removed the top of the gable end of the wall in Dukinfield on February 09, 2019 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)
PRESTWICK, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 08: Members of the public look on as Storm Erik makes landfall with winds of up to 70mph to hit some areas of the UK along with heavy rain on February 8, 2019 in Troon, Scotland. The Met Office issued two yellow be aware warnings for Friday for strong winds across western Scotland until the evening, and for heavy rain until Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 09: Storm damage is seen on a terraced house on Foundry Street where high winds have removed the top of the gable end of the wall in Dukinfield on February 09, 2019 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)
PRESTWICK, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 08: Members of the public look on as Storm Erik makes landfall with winds of up to 70mph to hit some areas of the UK along with heavy rain on February 8, 2019 in Prestwick, Scotland. The Met Office issued two yellow be aware warnings for Friday for strong winds across western Scotland until the evening, and for heavy rain until Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
PRESTWICK, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 08: Members of the public look on as Storm Erik makes landfall with winds of up to 70mph due to hit some areas of the UK along with heavy rain on February 8, 2019 in Prestwick, Scotland. The Met Office issued two yellow be aware warnings for Friday for strong winds across western Scotland until the evening, and for heavy rain until Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
PRESTWICK, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 08: Members of the public look on as Storm Erik makes landfall with winds of up to 70mph due to hit some areas of the UK along with heavy rain on February 8, 2019 in Prestwick, Scotland. The Met Office issued two yellow be aware warnings for Friday for strong winds across western Scotland until the evening, and for heavy rain until Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
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