Deaths and accidents as storm lashes Europe

3rd March 2008, Comments 0 comments

German ICE bullet train crashed into a tree that fell on a track during a storm raging across Europe that killed at least 4.

Berlin -- A German ICE bullet train crashed before dawn Saturday into a tree that fell on a track during a storm raging across Europe, and at least two motorists were killed in other storm- related accidents.

The German railways said the engine driver was injured in the collision at Bruehl near Bonn, but the high-speed inter-city express train, bound for Vienna, Austria, did not derail. Its passengers, who were unhurt, were bused to a station to continue their journeys.

The storm, code-named Emma by German meteorologists, lashed the northern fringes of the Alps. Winds ripped tiles from roofs and toppled billboards and gusted to 222 kilometres per hour on one mountaintop, the Wendelstein.

The high winds were accompanied by hail, flurries of snow and thunderstorms in parts of southern Germany.

A gust blew a motor-scooter rider, 20, into oncoming traffic, killing him at Oberpfaffenhofen in southern Germany. A falling fir tree killed a 58-year-old car passenger at Wissen in the west.

Nationwide radio warnings before the storm had advised Germans not to go into the woods for fear of falling branches.

Airports ran behind schedule during the buffeting. Rail services between Munich, Germany and Salzburg, Austria ceased. A women's skiing World Cup at Zwiesel in Bavaria state was cancelled. Flash floods hit parts of Bavaria.

However a heated outdoor swimming pool at Karlsruhe opened for the warm season on March 1 as usual. Though a pool cover was ripped by the storm, 60 swimmers donned shorts and bikinis, shrugged off the wind and showers, and dived in.

DPA with Expatica

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