15 killed, several injured in deadly storm in Spain, France | world | Hindustan Times
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15 killed, several injured in deadly storm in Spain, France

world Updated: Jan 25, 2009 09:13 IST

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Four children aged from nine to 12 years were killed on Saturday when a sports centre collapsed near Barcelona in strong winds which a huge wave hits a pier in Socoa, on the Atlantic coast near Saint-Jean-de-Luz, southwestern France as a winter storm spreads across southwestern France.

At least 11 adults were killed in separate incidents in Spain and France as gales buffeted the region for a second day, cutting power, disrupting flights and blocking roads. Forest fires, one caused by felled power lines, raged in Spain.

In the sports centre disaster, winds of more than 100 km (62 miles) per hour, ripped the metal roof off a building next to a baseball court in Sant Boi, causing the breeze block walls to collapse inwards. "It was horrific," Jose Antonio Godina, a parent, was quoted as saying by El Mundo newspaper.

"We heard a loud noise and we thought a tree had fallen on a roof. But when we got here, the roof of the annexe had literally flown off and the walls had fallen in on them." Four children, members of a junior baseball team, were killed, local authorities said. Nine people were injured, including seven children.

A policeman was killed by a falling tree in Galicia, northern Spain on Saturday, a police spokesman said, while a 52-year-old woman was killed when a wall collapsed on her as she walked down a street in Barcelona on Friday. A 51-year-old man was killed by a falling wall in Alicante, authorities said, while two more adults were killed by falling trees in Catalonia on Saturday.

A Portuguese captain died after being rescued from a ship in high seas off the coast of Galicia. A 73-year-old woman was killed when a door blew on top of her in the northern province of Burgos, local authorities said. The Spanish army stepped in to help fight a forest fire in La Nucia, north of Benidorm in Alicante, started by an electricity pylon felled by gales, the Ministry of Defence said.

Thousands were evacuated from nearby housing estates. Forest fires also raged in the region of Catalonia, putting emergency services on high alert, authorities said. In France, gales cut power supplies to around 1.7 million homes and closed roads, railways and airports. Local authorities in the Landes area said a 50-year-old man was killed when a tree fell on a car.

A 78-year-old man died in his garden when he was hit by a piece of debris. The body of a third victim, a 75-year-old man, was found crushed by a tree. Later, French state television reported that an elderly lady died when her respiratory support machine failed because of a power cut caused by the storm.