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Wednesday, September 22, 1999 Published at 11:48 GMT 12:48 UK

World: Americas

Hurricane Gert wreaks havoc in Bermuda

This dolphin was injured by debris before it escaped

Hurricane Gert left a trail of destruction as it brushed past Bermuda heading northeast.

Up to three miles of Bermuda's pink beaches were swept away and four dolphins escaped from their sea enclosure after being severely battered by debris.

Also damaged were Bermuda's natural stone arches - a well-known landmark.

[ image: Gert viewed by satellite at 0815 GMT (US National Weather Service)]
Gert viewed by satellite at 0815 GMT (US National Weather Service)
The dolphins were kept by a hotel as a tourist attraction. Their owners said they were not accustomed to fishing for themselves, and would have a hard time surviving alone.

Small aircraft have been warned away from the area, making the search for the dolphins more difficult.

Waves reached heights of 10 feet (3m) as wind gusted at speeds of up to 110mph (176kph).

Power lines were brought down, and roads were blocked by uprooted trees.

Houses fall apart

A tourist from Los Angeles, Mike Muir, woke up to discover major damage to the house he was sharing with friends and relatives.

[ image: Bermuda prepared for the worst]
Bermuda prepared for the worst
"Part of the house just fell away in the early morning. I didn't even hear when it fell away," he said.

Gert did not pass as close to Bermuda as originally expected, and the disruption was less severe than many had feared. Businesses reopened on Wednesday.

The hurricane is now moving north east and is expected to reach Newfoundland on Thursday.

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