Driver killed as tree falls on to car in County Durham

A driver died when a tree fell on to a hospice ambulance in gale force winds in County Durham.

The incident happened on the A688, near Barnard Castle, on Monday as north-east England was battered by winds gusting up to 70mph.

The dead man has not been named, but was a volunteer with Butterwick Hospice in Bishop Auckland.

Elsewhere, an 11-year-old boy was cut free after becoming trapped under a garage roof near Bradford.

Northern England has been hit by storm force winds from the tail-end of Hurricane Katia, with Met Office severe weather warnings in place for many areas.

Durham Police said the the fatal accident happened on the A688 at Dunhouse Quarry, between Staindrop and Barnard Castle. A passenger in the vehicle was taken to hospital in Darlington with injuries which are not thought to be life threatening.

Graham Leggatt-Chidgey, chief executive of Butterwick Hospice, said: "We can confirm that one of our long-term volunteers has been killed.

"We and the police are liaising with the man's family at the moment."

Controlled demolition

Also in County Durham more than a dozen cars were crushed when the roof of a building collapsed. No-one was hurt in the incident, at the Littleburn Industrial Estate at Langley Moor.

Durham Fire and Rescue Service said the roof of a building under construction was thrown on to nearby vehicles in the high winds.

A spokesman said a controlled demolition of the building was due to take place later.

More than 25 firefighters were called to the scene amid fears workmen were trapped. However, the spokesman said all had been accounted for.

No trains were running between York and Newcastle after a tree fell on overhead lines at Ferryhill, near Durham.

Officers have issued fresh warnings about high winds in the area following the tragedy.

An 11-year-old boy was injured when he became trapped under a garage roof as the strong winds also hit parts of Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire.

He was cut free by the fire service in Roper Lane, Queensbury, near Bradford, and taken to Bradford Royal Infirmary.

In Northumberland, the A69 was closed westbound due to overturned caravan between Corbridge and Hexham. There were no reported injuries.

The Highways Agency has urged drivers to take extra care.

A spokesman for East Coast Trains said: "We are currently experiencing disruption between York and the Scottish border, due to a number of wind speed readings in excess of 50mph.

"Overhead wires have come down at Ferryhill after a tree fell down. The up line is blocked by the tree, once the tree is removed it may be possible to open one line, but this needs to be confirmed."

Buses are being laid on for affected passengers.

Tyne and Wear Metro services have also been disrupted due to high winds affecting overhead cables.

The Redheugh Bridge over the River Tyne between Gateshead and Newcastle has been closed to high-sided vehicles as was the Humber Bridge.

On Teesside, part of the A66 has been closed to high-sided vehicles as a precaution, and the A19 flyover near to Haverton Hill has also been shut.

Stewart's Park in Middlesbrough was also closed to the public amid fears of falling branches.

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