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Wednesday, August 11, 1999 Published at 15:15 GMT 16:15 UK

Eclipse latest - South West UK

The latest eclipse news from BBC bureaux in Plymouth, Truro, St Helier and St Peter Port.

Click here to visit the BBC South West Webcam

Shame about the cloud

Darkness descended across the Isles of Scilly and Cornwall sparking cheers from the thousands of people who travelled to the county especially for the eclipse.

Special report
Special report
11 August
The landscape was lit by thousands of camera flashes and fireworks as day suddenly became night at precisely 11.11BST in Falmouth. About 1,000 gathered in front of a giant television screen there to view the spectacle.

Thousands of Radio One roadshow fans at Marazion, Penzance, also saw the whole thing beamed onto a giant screen.

Andrea Simmons, from Penzance, was not disappointed: "I think it was absolutely fantastic.

Watch the total eclipse of the Sun in Cornwall
"There were clouds but you still got the atmosphere. I felt really shivery when a big gust of wind came with it."

For many, umbrellas rather than solar viewers were the order of the day. Astronomer, Patrick Moore, who watched the eclipse from Falmouth, said he was unable to see the Sun's corona for the cloud.

Hear the eclipse: Reaction from two locations in Cornwall
The total number of people in Cornwall to witness the event was put at 1.1 million. Eclipse emergency planners working from county hall in Truro said that from five o'clock on Tuesday evening to seven o'clock on Wednesday morning an additional 8,500 cars entered the county.

On Plymouth Hoe, an estimated 25,000 people stood under cloudy skys to experience the event.

[ image:  ]
And although the Sun was not visible through the cloud, the eclipse could be seen on a giant screen on the Hoe.

People crammed on the tiny Channel Island of Alderney hoping for a better view. Some 10,000 visitors had filled the island to bursting point. Among them were a group of astronomers who were viewing the eclipse using special telescopes and instruments.

Other scientists had based themselves across the region to carry out a series of tests to determine the effects of the eclipse on bird and animal life. As the Moon moved infront of the Sun all went quiet, but during totality the seagulls appeared to panic and flew into the sky.

Coastguards had warned sailors to be aware of sudden wind shifts during totality. It was said at least 100,000 small boats were off the South Coast of England.

One man had to be airlifted to hospital after suffering a heart attack on board a passenger ship stationed off Cornwall to see the eclipse. The vessel "The Norway" was 32 kilometres (20 miles) west-north-west of Land's End. A helicopter from RNAS Culdrose took the man to the Royal Cornwall Hospital at Treliske.

There was further trouble at the travellers' eclipse encampment at Trefullock near Summercourt. Police attempted to seize music equipment but the confiscation operation turned into violent clashes between officers and travellers.

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