Death toll in French storms hits four
17/12/2004 - 19:35:20
The death toll in a powerful killer storm with hurricane-force winds in northern France tonight has risen to four tonight.
Three of the victims were crushed by falling trees – and forced officials to close the Eiffel Tower and the Paris parks.
A 61-year-old Parisian woman died when her car was crushed by a tree in the chic 16th district and a pedestrian was decapitated by flying sheet metal, Paris police headquarters said.
A 24-year-old man was fatally hit by a tree as he rode his motorbike near Compiegne, north of Paris, and a 25-year-old woman was killed in Gruny, in the northern Somme region, when a tree fell on her car.
Rescue workers in Paris closed the Sainte-Chapelle monument, renowned for its stained glass windows, because of worries that a stone angel on its roof could be toppled by the gusts.
Paris City Hall ordered the Eiffel Tower closed as well as Paris parks and outdoor ice skating rinks.
In the western city of Brest, in Brittany, three people were reported missing.
The high winds, at their strongest in the afternoon, cut electricity to some 220,000 homes. Winds of 80mph pounded the north, prompting authorities to raise the nation’s weather alert to orange – one below the highest of the four levels.
Air and train traffic was interrupted, with about 100 flights delayed, according to Aeroports de Paris, which operates the capital’s airports.
Traffic on the TGV fast train between Paris and Lille also was interrupted.
Paris police were called into action 320 times, headquarters said.
In western France, the Normandy Bridge, a suspension bridge near the port of Le Havre, was closed, RTL radio reported.
Officials warned drivers to take care and pedestrians to watch for flying branches and roof tiles.
© Thomas Crosbie Media, 2004.
http://breakingnews.iol.ie/news/story.a ... =yz77768zz