Europe

At least nine dead as fatal storms hit Germany and Austria

An uprooted tree in a street after it fell on a car in the district Wedding in Berlin, Germany, 31 March 2015 Image copyright EPA
Image caption German emergency services have reportedly been called to more than 900 incidents

At least nine people have been killed in gales that have battered Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the UK.

Seven people were killed in Germany, including two men whose car was hit by a tree.

German media reports that there have been dozens of injuries from flying branches.

In Austria, a man fell from a ladder and suffered fatal head injuries while securing an awning over his patio.

Forecasters said that on Germany's highest mountain, the Zugspitze, winds of more than 190km/h (118 mph) were recorded.

Rail services were disrupted and the main station in Munich had to be evacuated due to concerns that parts of the roof might collapse.

A man in Birmingham, UK, was seriously injured when his car was crushed by a falling tree.

The biggest winds in the Netherlands were put at 120km/h (75mph) by weather site Weeronline. Toppled lorries were left scattered across Dutch roads.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Pedestrians in Munich were blown to the ground by the force of the winds
Image copyright PA
Image caption A driver was badly injured when his car was hit by a falling tree in Birmingham
Image copyright EPA
Image caption Lorries were blown over on major routes both here in the Netherlands and across Germany

As the storm, dubbed Niklas, swept from the west across Germany, regional rail services came to a halt in Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia, while many Germans were trying to get away ahead of the Easter holiday period.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The worst single incident was at Montabaur, where two road maintenance workers were killed by a falling tee

A man was killed when a concrete wall fell on top of him in the eastern town of Gross Santersleben, police said.

Flights were disrupted at airports in Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Munich's central station was closed because of falling glass panels dislodged by the gales
Image copyright EPA
Image caption Falling trees blocked roads in Austria, including here at Michaelbeuern, near Salzburg

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