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Storm Xavier wreaks havoc in Germany; death toll rises to seven, train services suspended

Berlin: Seven motorists were killed in north and eastern Germany on Thursday as fierce winds toppled trees onto cars during an intense storm that also forced many train services to be cancelled.

Representational Image. AFP

Representational Image. AFP

Police in Hamburg said a tree fell on a car carrying two women — killing one and leaving the other with serious injuries.

Another driver was killed in Berlin, rescue workers said. Several others were injured as the heavy winds swept through the German capital before weakening later in the day.

Most of those injured were struck by falling tree branches.

A truck driver was also killed by a falling tree on a main road in the northeastern state Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, police told news agency DPA, and a female driver was killed in the Brandenburg region when a tree hit her car.

Three more people were killed in similar incidents, according to local authorities.

The German weather service (DWD) predicted that hurricane-force winds would continue to lash northeastern Germany into the evening on Thursday.
State-owned rail operator Deutsche Bahn ordered a halt to trains across northern Germany, especially the Hamburg-Berlin line, as many routes were blocked by fallen trees.

Many services were also cancelled in the country's east, as were urban S-Bahn trains in capital Berlin.

Berliners packed into trams and underground services to escape the powerful gusts of wind, which threw traffic signs and advertising billboards to the ground.

Firefighters in the German capital were on high alert after receiving 50 emergency calls in the space of half an hour, while their colleagues in Hamburg reported responding to over 800 calls.

In Berlin meteorologists said that wind gusts of up to 120 kilometres per hour could be expected.

Berlin zoo was closed to the public in the early afternoon.

The two airports in the capital continued to operate as normal.

Updated Date: Oct 06, 2017 09:17 AM

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