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Tuesday, 31 October, 2000, 00:23 GMT
Ten dead in European storms
In Belgium, Ostend seafront was lashed by high winds
Violent storms have caused destruction across much of north-western Europe, causing at least 10 deaths and flooding thousands of homes.

The UK Meteorological Office said the weather in southern England was the worst for more than a decade, recalling the storm of October 1987.

Ievoli Sun
The Ievoli Sun started to take on water early on Monday

At least four people were killed on wet and windswept roads in England and Wales, and a Dutch ship's captain was found dead after falling into the hold of his vessel anchored off the British Torbay.

There were four deaths in France and one in Ireland, most of them caused by falling trees.

The Eurostar train service, linking London with Paris and Brussels, was suspended until 1500 GMT on Monday, and in France the speed of the TGV high-speed trains was cut to half, as high winds brought trees down across railway lines.

Air travel was also badly affected, with many flights cancelled at London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports, as well as Amsterdam's Schipol and Paris' Charles de Gaulle airports.

Air France cancelled 140 flights in total, 30 of them long-haul, and British Airways cancelled 88 flights on Monday morning alone.

Ferry chaos

Ferry services between the UK and French ports were disrupted, with 6,000 people on six ferries kept at sea in rough conditions for up to 20 hours because it was too dangerous to dock at Dover.

Ferries between Denmark and Sweden were also disrupted, and light traffic - motorcycles and cars with trailers - were prevented from travelling on the new Oresund bridge connecting the two countries.

Maersk Air suspended flights to the Danish island of Bornholm, at the entrance to the Baltic Sea.

Several towns on Norway's southern coast were flooded, with abnormally high tides, driven by wind and rain, flooding the centre of Kristiansand and Arendal.

A Color Line ferry normally travelling to Denmark, the Silvia Ana, was slightly damaged when it broke free of mooring ropes in Kristiansand.

Pollution threat

As gale-force winds lashed the Atlantic coast of France, an Italian cargo ship carrying toxic chemicals sent out distress signals, and all 14 aboard were taken ashore by helicopter.

The Ievoli Sun started taking in water early on Monday, and a French tug later managed to attach a tow line.

The ship is now 45km (30 miles) west of the island of Guernsey, in force 6-8 winds.

The tug is trying to tow it to the port of Cherbourg or Le Havre, amid fears that, if it sinks, there could be another environmental disaster along the Brittany coast, following the Erika oil tanker spill last year.

Off the west coast of Scotland, a British coastguard helicopter rescued six crew members from a Norwegian cargo vessel that had been foundering on Sunday night in high seas.

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See also:

30 Oct 00 | UK
Storm chaos across Britain
05 Jan 00 | Europe
Oil spill damage worsens
24 Oct 00 | Europe
Floods kill five in Spain
20 Oct 00 | Europe
Italy counts cost of flood
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