Downpour leads to road deaths and drownings

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The Independent Online
EIGHT PEOPLE died after torrential rain caused flooding across Britain over the Christmas period and hundreds of homes were evacuated.

There was a flood alert on 270 rivers last night and weather forecasters warned that conditions would remain "difficult" up until New Year's Eve.

An accident in which two children were killed and a third injured could have been caused by ice on the road. Four-year-old Sid Price was critically injured when a police car he was travelling in with his mother, Shelleen, his twin brother, Neza, and two-year-old sister, Claudette, was involved in the multiple-car accident in Co Durham as they were being taken to a women's refuge on Boxing Day.

The search was called off yesterday for a 42-year-old fisherman, Donald MacLean, who was swept away on Christmas night after his dinghy capsized off the coast of Plockton, north-west Scotland. His 45-year-old companion, who managed to cling to the dinghy, was rescued.

On Christmas Day, an 18-year-old woman died when the car she was driving crashed into a milk tanker in Droxford, Hampshire. Police said the four other occupants of the car remained in hospital, two of them in a critical condition.

On Merseyside, 24-year-old Philip Stubbs, from Cardiff, died in the early hours of Christmas Day after being swept off a promenade at New Brighton, on the Wirral, into the River Mersey.

On Christmas Eve, 85-year-old John Winchester drowned after being trapped in his flooded bungalow in Galmpton, south Devon.

A crewman died from injuries when a Belgian cargo ship was hit by heavy seas eight miles south of the Isles of Scilly and a 44-year-old Ukrainian sailor is missing, presumed dead, after falling overboard from a cargo vessel mid-Channel in rough seas.

Four people remained in a serious condition last night after a sudden hail storm on the M6 at Leyland, Lancashire, caused a 20-vehicle pile- up at about 6pm on Boxing Day.