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'Three killed' in Australian storms

Published 21/04/2015

Huge waves crash over swimming baths at Avalon Beach in Sydney. (AP)
Huge waves crash over swimming baths at Avalon Beach in Sydney. (AP)

A fierce storm lashing south-east Australia has destroyed homes, stranded dozens of people in floodwaters and might have led to three deaths, officials said.

The storm has pounded Sydney and other parts of New South Wales, dumping more than 1ft of rain in some areas with wind gusting more than 60mph.

Flash flooding trapped people in cars and homes, and emergency officials received 4,500 calls for help and rescued nearly 50 people, New South Wales premier Mike Baird said.

In the town of Dungog, about 125 miles north of Sydney, three elderly people were found dead and at least one home was swept away.

Police are trying to determine how the two men and one woman died.

"At the moment, the circumstances are being worked through, but we do want their families to know our thoughts and prayers are with them," Mr Baird said.

The wind knocked out power lines, peeled off roofs and sent trees crashing into houses, leaving about 200,000 homes and businesses without electricity.

A Carnival cruise ship was stuck outside Sydney Harbour after officials closed the port to all commercial vessels due to dangerously high waves.

The weather is expected to ease tomorrow.

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