Man drowns in German floods as dinghy capsizes

25th August 2005, Comments 0 comments

25 August 2005, MUNICH - Sandbags were being packed against sodden embankments along the Danube river in Germany Thursday as floodwaters from this week's deluge in the Alps raced past on their way to the sea.

25 August 2005

MUNICH - Sandbags were being packed against sodden embankments along the Danube river in Germany Thursday as floodwaters from this week's deluge in the Alps raced past on their way to the sea.

With the flood crest between the cities of Ingolstadt and Regensburg, emergency officials said a struggle was under way to save an embankment in the town of Neustadt-an-der-Donau and a full-scale disaster alert was in place in the area.

There were fears the waters would enter the ornate chapel of Weltenburg Monastery next to the Danube. Benedictine monks celebrate mass daily in the chapel. Christian monks have lived on the site since 617 AD, making it Bavaria's oldest monastic site.

Elsewhere, the floods claimed their first fatality in Germany. Police said early Thursday, a 28-year-old man had drowned when an inflatable dinghy capsized while speeding over floodwaters southeast of Munich.

He and two teenagers had gone out for fun on the flooded Mangfall river, one of the headwaters of the Danube, on Wednesday evening. His body was recovered from the water about 90 minutes later.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder was being briefed Thursday in the Bavarian city of Augsburg on relief efforts, but aides said he would not travel into the flood-stricken area of southern Germany.

In Passau, Germany, where two tributaries join the Danube, the river had receded by Thursday morning after a surge from the Inn river had flooded basements and low-lying streets the previous day, but the next surge was approaching the city from the Danube itself.

After heavy rain, the run-off has been coming down the rivers in surges, creating the danger that two or more surges will meet when the rivers join and create a big flood. Bavarian waterways staff were using shipping locks on the Danube to space out and flatten crests.

Elsewhere, emergency officials said there was concern that sodden embankments on the Isar, the Danube tributary which flows through Munich, might give way near the towns of Erding and Landshut. Volunteers put sandbags on the places where the levees were seeping.

In Erding, where the German armed forces are helping protect embankments, civic officials asked for an extra 100 soldiers.

DPA

Subject: German news

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