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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 January 2008, 13:29 GMT
Storm brings chaos to Black Sea
Rough sea at Constanta, Romania
Bad weather forced the closure of Constanta port in Romania
At least four sailors have died after their Bulgarian cargo ship sank in a storm lashing the Kerch Strait, just north of the Black Sea.

Rescuers from Ukraine and Russia are searching for the other crew from the Vanessa. There were 10 Bulgarians and a Ukrainian pilot on board.

The crew reportedly took to life rafts when their ship, carrying iron, sank en route to Burgas in Bulgaria.

Heavy snow has severely disrupted transport in Bulgaria and Romania.

There is transport chaos in the Romanian capital Bucharest, with snow 50-60cm (19.5-23 inches) deep in places.

Black Sea map
Bucharest's two airports were closed and train passengers were hit by long delays. The airports later reopened.

Black Sea ports in Bulgaria and Romania have been closed to traffic.

Most flights to and from Bulgaria's Sofia airport were cancelled on Wednesday.

The snow also left more than 300 Bulgarian towns and villages without electricity and blocked numerous roads. Some villages have also been cut off from deliveries of food and fresh water.

Your experiences:

Heavy snowfall was one thing; but, accompanied by strong winds it caused chaotic conditions throughout Bulgaria, and we in the small town of Nikolaevo, Central Bulgaria, were not escapees. Snow was blown across our garden to the front of our house where it resembled sand dunes more than a metre high - we were trapped inside, without electricity or heating or telephone for over 30 hours. (Our heating system operates like central heating run off a large domestic stove-like object with an electric pump.) Every window was frozen. We managed to dig ourselves out however, to the shops - alas, no bread! Still, despite the drama and discomfort, we count ourselves luckier than an awful lot of other people around who probably won't be able to get to the shops for days, and with temperatures set to nosedive to as low as minus 15 degrees across the country, by the weekend, we hold our breath for everyone.
Mrs J Crowie, Stara Zagora, Bulgaria

Early in the morning my relative had to catch a train to the capital- Sofia. It was very difficult to even go to the train station, because even the main streets in the city were difficult to pass. All trains were behind the schedule by a couple of hours. Now streets are easy to pass, but there is no pavement- there is only snow.

I have lived here for over three years and whilst this is not the worst snow yet, with the forecast for snowfall to continue through the weekend, it looks like it probably will end up being so. A colleague was in Varna on the Black Sea coast for the New Year celebrations but can't get out of it, all roads are still closed even for 4X4s. However, the kids love it - the back garden is a mini-winter sports venue!
Jim Reynolds, Sofia, Bulgaria

In pictures: Balkan winter woes
03 Jan 08 |  In Pictures


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