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One dead, several injured as storm batters western Europe


Bad weather has hit northern parts of France (AP)

Bad weather has hit northern parts of France (AP)

Bad weather has hit northern parts of France (AP)

A violent storm featuring winds of up to 100mph has battered parts of western Europe, derailing trains, toppling trees and halting flights.

Authorities said one person was killed and at least 15 others were injured in several incidents across France and Switzerland.

The high winds played havoc with transport, derailing trains in Switzerland and Germany and leaving hundreds of thousands of homes across France and Switzerland without power.

Officials said one skier was killed in the French Alps after being hit by a falling tree in Morillon in Haute-Savoie.

Swiss police said several people were stranded on cable cars after high winds hit the skiing resort of Pizol.

St Gallen police said rescue teams are trying to get the people out and haul away several trees which had crashed into the cables.

It is not clear how many people are stuck inside the cabins of the cable cars or whether any are injured. Because of the high winds, helicopters cannot be used in the rescue operation.

Also in Switzerland, several people were injured after a train was blown off the tracks near Lenk, a town south of the capital, Bern.

In western Germany, another train derailed near Luenen when it crashed into a tree that had fallen onto the tracks, according to the dpa news agency. No injuries were reported.

The storm forced the cancellation of flights at Zurich and Basel airports and toppled a truck on a major Swiss road.

Thousands of households at Lake Zurich were left without power, and firefighters were called to help with toppled trees blocking streets, as well as flooding due to heavy rain.

The storm led to winds surpassing 90mph in northern France, some of the worst gusts to hit the country in years. Many people posted photos of destroyed cars, collapsed scaffolding and uprooted trees on social media.

France's national electricity provider said the storm left some 200,000 households without electricity, including 30,000 in the Paris region.

In Paris, a falling tree hit a car and seriously injured one person, while another resident was seriously hurt falling from a building. In all, the interior ministry said 15 people in France were injured, with four in serious condition, following accidents caused by high winds.

Strong winds also caused delays at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, amid extra precautions to help travellers board aircraft safely.

In Germany, highways near Duisburg and Juelich in the west were partially blocked because of fallen trees and flooding.

Zoos in Munich and Augsburg in Bavaria closed for the day, while the railway going up Germany's tallest mountain, the Zugspitze, was shut down because of the storm.

In neighbouring Austria, a ski jumping practice in Innsbruck was cancelled due to the strong winds and snow.