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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 January, 2005, 23:30 GMT
Lorry driver dies in bridge fall
A crane was used the remove the lorry
A man has been killed after an articulated lorry was blown off a bridge amid high winds in Londonderry.

The lorry fell more than 100ft from the Foyle Bridge onto mudflats.

Witnesses said it was caught by a gust of wind and blown through a barrier at the side of the bridge, which was later closed to all vehicles.

Emergency services were called about 1400 GMT on Tuesday but the driver was pronounced dead at the scene. A crane was used to remove the lorry.

Severe gales

Fire crews said it was a very difficult operation removing the lorry from the mudflats with debris falling from the bridge above.

The Roads Service said it been monitoring wind speeds on the bridge at the time of the incident.

A spokesman said: "If the average wind speed is over 50 mph, Roads Service consults the PSNI about the closure of the bridge.

"Roads Service was monitoring the wind speeds prior to the accident and they had not reached a level that would normally cause it to consult with the PSNI."

A lorry was overturned near the Faughan Bridge
A lorry was overturned near the Faughan Bridge

High winds were also being blamed for another incident close to Londonderry involving a lorry near Faughan Bridge on the main Limavady road.

Police said the lorry was blown across the road into oncoming traffic before overturning on to the hard shoulder.

The lorry collided with a car. The driver of the car was not seriously hurt but the lorry driver was taken to hospital with leg and arm injuries.

Across Northern Ireland severe gales damaged buildings and brought down power lines.

Hampered by winds

About 35,000 customers suffered power cuts throughout Tuesday and about 4,000 homes remained without power at 2230 GMT, Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) said.

It said the worst affected areas were Ballyclare, Craigavon, Omagh and Dungannon.

More than 900 engineers and lines staff are out dealing with faults but NIE said their job was hampered by the winds.

In some areas it was too dangerous to carry out repair work, the company said.

Winds also caused problems for firefighters in County Down.

The Down coast was lashed by the storm
The Down coast was lashed by the storm

A blaze at the Oak Grill restaurant in Castlewellan spread to neighbouring buildings.

Aidan McGuinness from the fire brigade said that, at one point, 80 firefighters were at the scene.

'Outer shell'

He said: "Because of the high winds the fire spread very rapidly indeed.

"This made it quite dangerous for the firefighters to fight the fire.

"Very quickly the roof burned through and collapsed into the building which left the building an outer shell."

The weather also led to flooding on some coastal roads and many ferry crossings were cancelled.

Other roads were blocked by fallen trees and debris from buildings.


SEE ALSO:
Homes still without power
09 Jan 05 |  Northern Ireland
High winds cause power cuts
08 Jan 05 |  Northern Ireland
In pictures: Storm sweeps UK
08 Jan 05 |  Photo Gallery


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