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At least nine dead after hurricane strength winds

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At least nine dead after hurricane strength winds
Fire brigade workers in Michaelbeuern, Salzburg. Photo: EPA/T.A./FMT-PICTURES
10:05 CEST+02:00
Hurricane strength winds brought chaos to Austria, Germany and Switzerland on Tuesday, killing at least nine people and causing major damage to travel infrastructure.

In Austria there was one fatality. A 63-year-old pensioner in Upper Austria died after he tried to secure a roof on his terrace and fell from a ladder, hitting his head on a stone floor. 

With wind strength of 193 km/h Storm Niklas, which battered Austria and Germany for most of Tuesday, was one of the strongest to hit the region in years.

In Bavaria and Rhineland Palatinate a woman and two men were killed by trees falling onto their cars. One man in Bavaria died in strong hail on the A95. In Baden Württemberg, two men died on a snow covered road.

Seven people in total perished in Germany, and Niklas also claimed a life in Switzerland, when a tree crushed a 75-year-old motorist. 

The damage across Austria was considerable, with trees uprooted by strong gusts, roads blocked, power lines down and damage to roofs and buildings.

In Upper Austria alone 6,500 emergency workers were kept busy during the day and night. Fire departments in Lower Austria and Vorarlberg were in constant demand. In Salzburg and Upper Austria several trucks were blown off the road. Ski resorts in western Austria shut down their lifts.

The storm subsided overnight but rain and snow is forecast for much of Austria on Wednesday.

In Germany, Frankfurt airport has cancelled 180 flights and at Hamburg airport 63 flights were affected.

Airlines are warning that flight delays will stretch into Wednesday.

Rail operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) worked throughout the night on Tuesday to repair overhead cables. But delays are still expected on the Munich to Salzburg line and between Bremen and Hanover.

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