Mini-tornado in north of France leaves three dead

4th August 2008, Comments 0 comments

A freak weather occurrence in the form of a mini-tornado left three dead and nine injured.

4 August 2008

HAUTMONT - Three people died and nine were injured, two seriously, when their homes in and around the northern French town of Hautmont collapsed after being hit by a mini-tornado, officials said Monday.

A woman in her seventies was killed when her house in Hautmont, a town of 16,000 inhabitants, collapsed late Sunday, medics at the scene said.

Monday morning, rescue workers found the body of one of the town's deputy mayors in the ruins of his house, as well as his wife who also perished in the collapse.

The two people most seriously injured had also been in a house that was entirely destroyed in the freak storm, said regional officials.

Earlier reports had spoken of 13 injured, officials explained later that four of those hospitalised had been residents in a retirement home who were taken in for observation because of their medical conditions.

Nearly 200 rescue workers were still working through the wrecked buildings Monday morning, a local official told AFP. "Searches are continuing to make sure other people have not been buried," he said.

Heavy rain and gale-force winds caused major damage late Sunday over a 10-kilometre swath. Roofs disappeared, houses crumbled and cars were hurled in the air.

In Hautmont, the cultural centre was opened overnight to shelter people whose houses had been damaged or wrecked. About 40 houses were seriously damaged in the storm.

Local rail traffic was interrupted after the weather brought down power lines, said the rail company SNCF.

[AFP / Expatica]

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