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Death Toll From European Gales Rise

January 30, 2002

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LONDON (AP) _ Northern Europe struggled Tuesday to repair the damage from hurricane-force winds that swept over the continent, as the death toll from the vicious storm rose to 18.

The storm ripped roofs off building, disrupted traffic and shipping and left thousands of homes without power. It tore through Britain and Ireland before lashing Scandinavia, Germany, Poland and Russia.

In Scotland, rescue workers on Tuesday found a lone climber who survived a night of 140 mph winds on Lairig An Laoigh mountain. Peter Deacon, 38, said he heard about the approaching storm on his radio and managed to get to a stone hut before it hit.

``I knew I couldn’t move any farther because I couldn’t even stand up in the wind, so I just basically stayed up there all Monday night,″ Deacon told reporters after being tracked down Tuesday morning by dozens of searchers.

Thousands of homes and businesses in northern England and Scotland still had no electricity on Tuesday after the storm ripped down lines.

There, the death toll rose to eight when a woman, Kathleen Nash, 42, died Tuesday in a hospital from injuries she had suffered when she was hit by a falling tree near a hotel in Scotland. Her companion John Speirs, 42, who was walking with her, died moments after the accident. A woman died when she was hit by a piece of stone carving that fell from a church in York.

Flood warnings from the storm’s heavy rains remained in force in England and Wales.

Gales brought down trees and tore the roofs from buildings in northern Germany. A 49-year-old man was killed in port city of Bremen when he was hit by a flying branch, and a 58-year-old motorist died after the wind blew him into a truck, police said.

In Oranienburg, near Berlin, a 51-year-old man was killed when a tree fell on his car. And in Wuelfrath, near Duesseldorf, a 78-year-old woman was killed when she was hit by a falling tree.

The wind blew a ferry into a tugboat and both vessels went aground in Travemuende, on Germany’s Baltic coast,

In western Poland, a tree fell in front of a car, killing two men and injuring three others. And in the southwestern Upper Silesia province, another person was killed and two others injured by a falling tree.

A woman riding a bicycle in the Polish city of Konon died when she was hit by a falling lamp post.

Two people were killed in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad when high winds blew a tree onto their car.

In Sweden, Denmark and Norway, high winds felled trees and electricity poles and disrupted shipping, but no one was reported injured. Many roads and mountain passes were closed by snow and high winds.

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