Deadly storms batter western Germany
DDP/The Local · 15 Jul 2010, 08:08
Published: 15 Jul 2010 08:08 GMT+02:00
Western parts of the country bore the brunt of storm front, which brought heavy rain, gales, thunder and lightning and injured dozens of people through falling tree branches, hurled debris and road accidents.
A small tornado caused damage in the lower Rhine region, while several camp sites were destroyed in the Rhineland-Palatinate.
A 72-year-old hunter was found dead just before midnight under a fallen tree in a forest in the Hessian region of Werra-Meißner after being reported missing by a fellow hunter, police said.
Frankfurt airport, Germany’s largest and a key European air transport hub, was closed for half and hour from around 8 pm to 8:30 pm. Approaching planes had to be diverted or put in a holding pattern, an airport spokesman said, though he had no information on how many passengers had been affected.
Three people were injured in the Hessian region of Schwalm-Eder, where the storm uprooted trees, tore off roof tiles and flooded cellars. Several roads were blocked by fallen trees. One man was hit by a tree branch, while a cyclist and a motorcyclist crashed in separate incidents because of the rain-flooded streets.
In the Rhineland-Palatinate town of Neuwied heavy rain and gales battered a campsite, where a sudden gust tore a tent, including its wooden flooring, from the ground and hurled it against a fence, leaving a 20-year-old man with serious head and spinal injuries. His condition was critical though not life-threatening. Two 17-year-olds suffered less serious injuries.
Deutsche Bahn was forced to close many train tracks. Worst affected were the areas in the far west around Mönchengladbach and Münster in North Rhine-Westphalia and the lower Rhine. Many of the lines were re-opened overnight, however.