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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 January 2007, 20:46 GMT
Nine dead as storms hit England
Emergency services dealing with a bus which left the road in high winds in Cambridgeshire
A bus left the road during high winds on the A10 in Cambridgeshire
Nine people, including a two-year-old boy, have died as gales and heavy downpours hit England.

The boy died when a wall fell on him in London and a woman died in Stockport in a similar incident. A man in Cheshire died when he was hit by a tree.

Another man died when he was blown into metal shutters in Manchester. Most of the other deaths were in road crashes.

The weather also caused transport chaos with planes, trains and ferries cancelled and motorways closed.

Winds of up to 99mph have been reported.

Airport manager killed

Two lorry drivers died when their vehicles overturned - a woman on the A269 in Yorkshire and another, a German national, when his lorry blew onto a car on the A55 in Chester.

Birmingham International Airport's managing director Richard Heard died when a falling branch crashed through his car windscreen in Bridgnorth, Shropshire.

The man who was killed when he was blown into metal shutters died on an industrial estate in the Strangeways area of Manchester.

Cheshire police have confirmed that the 60-year-old man who was hit by a tree was working at a site in Byley, Middlewich, when the accident happened. It is under investigation by the Health and Safety Executive.

Richard Heard, managing director of Birmingham International Airport, who died in a crash

The boy who died in Kentish Town, London, was treated for a serious head injury before being pronounced dead at 1445 GMT, while a woman injured in the same incident was taken to the Royal Free Hospital.

Firefighters from Humberside Fire and Rescue Service said an elderly man suffered fatal injuries when a shed collapsed on him during gales.

Meanwhile, the crew of a container ship were rescued from the 62,000-tonne vessel when it began to sink in the English Channel, about 50 miles south of Lizard in Cornwall.

A Maritime and Coastguard Agency tug and two Navy helicopters were involved in the rescue of the 26-strong crew of the UK-registered MSC Napoli, which had a hole in its side. There were no reports of injuries.

Two men had to be rescued in the Peak District during the night when they became disorientated walking in heavy rain and fog in the Staffordshire Moorlands.

They had called police at about 0300 GMT and were taken to hospital suffering from hypothermia.

Gritters sent out

Snow has fallen in parts of the North East and Yorkshire.

About 15 snowploughs and gritters were sent out in County Durham to clear roads of snow and ice and up to 2ins (5cm) of snow fell on the Pennines.

British Airways flights between Heathrow and Manchester were cancelled while some flights from Manchester to Gatwick, Dusseldorf and Paris were also affected. Passengers were told to check with BA for more details.

Waves crash up the sea wall at Dover
Rough seas caused ferry services from Dover to be cancelled

Eurostar cancelled all services to and from England because of power problems in northern France.

Ferry sailings from the Port of Dover in Kent were cancelled shortly before 0830 GMT, with P&O and SeaFrance services to Calais, Norfolk Line crossings to Dunkirk and SpeedFerries sailings to Boulogne all affected, but sailings from the port resumed just after 1600 GMT.

The port of Newhaven in East Sussex, which provides crossings to Dieppe, was also closed and some ferries to the Isle of Wight, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man have also been cancelled.

Trains hit trees

Network Rail enforced precautionary speed restrictions on some lines with Chiltern Railways, Central Trains, South Eastern Trains and First Great Western among firms running no services faster than 50mph.

Virgin Trains cancelled some services between Birmingham and London Euston during the morning and later in the day stopped trains between the Midlands and London.

This meant trains heading from the North to Euston were being terminated at Birmingham or Wolverhampton.

Mudeford in Dorset during storms - picture by Barrie Taylor
This boat was washed up on the beach at Mudeford in Dorset

The Shrewsbury to Chester rail line was closed after a train collided with a tree just outside Chirk Station, just over the Welsh border.

Another train hit a tree on the line between Uckfield and London Bridge at Sanderstead in Surrey. There were no injuries and the train was not damaged but the London-bound line was blocked.

Train operators ONE and GNER have been operating a revised and reduced timetable on the East Coast Mainline, with fewer trains running between London and Newcastle.

Kings Cross and London Bridge stations were closed.

The Queen Elizabeth II bridge over the Thames, which links the M25 between Essex and Kent, has been closed due to the high winds, with southbound traffic diverted through one of the tunnels which normally carries only northbound vehicles.

Lorries blown over

The new crossing to the Isle of Sheppey has also been closed and elsewhere in Kent six vehicles were involved in a crash on the London-bound M20 between junctions five and six, causing delays.

In the West, the M48 old Severn bridge was shut, with traffic being diverted via the second Severn crossing.

The Millennium Bridge over the Thames was closed at 1200 GMT due to fears pedestrians would be blown into the water.

In Lancashire, the M6 northbound was down to one lane after a lorry was blown over in the high winds.

The HGV, carrying plastic bottles, was thrown off its wheels at about 0900 GMT and shed its load over the carriageway between junctions 32 and 33, north of Preston.

London Bridge station closed
London Bridge was among railway stations to close

And a lorry jack-knifed in strong gusts while travelling over the Thelwall Viaduct on the M6 between junction 21 and 20, near Warrington.

South Yorkshire Police said several blown over lorries caused the closure of the M1 in both directions between junctions 29 and 30, near Chesterfield and Sheffield.

The M18 was closed in both directions between junctions 4 and 7 northbound and junctions 6 and 7 southbound, near Doncaster.

Four men were injured when scaffolding collapsed near Euston station in north London at about 0800 GMT. Two men suffered head injuries, while one had a shoulder injury and another a leg injury.

Head injuries

Lord's cricket ground in north-west London was evacuated after sections of the roof were blown onto parked cars outside.

Three teenagers had to be taken to hospital after tiles came off the roof of a school in Hednesford, Staffordshire. One had a fractured arm and wrist.

A man was taken to hospital with head injuries after the gable end of a three-storey house collapsed on to a passing van in Slough.

Blackpool
Waves were crashing up onto the seafront at Blackpool

The high winds have also caused damage to Southsea Pier, in Portsmouth, where glass tiles were ripped off the roof.

The roof of a bar in Bournemouth town centre collapsed, scattering bricks and rubble, with one man receiving a minor head injury after being struck by debris.

A 31-year-old woman suffered head injuries when she was struck by a piece of metal that fell from a roof in Bridge Street in Manchester city centre.

Part of Hereford city centre was closed off at lunchtime after strong winds brought debris down from rooftops onto shopping streets, while shops in Ellesmere Port were also shut because of wind damage.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been left without electricity in various parts of the country.


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