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Two die as 100mph winds batter UK

Two men have been killed as winds of more than 100mph battered the UK.

A man in his 50s was crushed by a falling tree as he sat in the driver's seat of a parked van in Kent.

Meanwhile, a member of crew on board a tanker was killed after the vessel was hit by a large wave off the coast of the south Devon/Cornwall border.

The strong winds swept across the country, bringing travel chaos as millions of people returned to work after the Christmas and new year break. Trees fell on to railway tracks and power lines, lorries toppled over on busy roads and flood warnings were issued after rivers swelled.

High seas and rocky swells buffeted ferries and caused the Port of Dover to close, while gusts of wind damaged the roof of a stand at Epsom Downs racecourse in Surrey.

Kent Police said the man who was hit by a tree was from Tonbridge, and was pronounced dead at the scene on Sandhurst Road, Tunbridge Wells.

Paul Harragan, who lives yards from the scene of the accident, said three branches of the oak tree had "completely crushed" the vehicle.

Falmouth Coastguard was contacted at 11.40am to reports that three crewmen needed to be medically evacuated from an Isle of Man-registered chemical tanker, a Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokeswoman said.

A Royal Navy helicopter based at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall airlifted one of the men, who was unconscious, to Deriford Hospital in Plymouth where he later died.

The other two casualties were then flown to Treliske Hospital in Truro with suspected fractured bones. The vessel was 13 nautical miles off the coast of Eddystone Lighthouse, on the Devon/Cornwall border when the incident happened and the wind was measured as storm force 9 at the time.


From Belfast Telegraph