Three crushed to death after winds blow tree on to cars

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The Independent Online
THREE PEOPLE died yesterday when a tree blown down by severe winds crushed three cars and a bus stop.

The victims - a middle-aged man and an elderly woman in one car and a man driving another - were pronounced dead at the scene on the A435 in King's Heath, Birmingham. The driver of the third car escaped with a minor head injury.

In a separate incident, as Britain suffered its first widespread bad weather of the winter, a man was taken to Queen Mary's Hospital in Sidcup, south-east London, with minor injuries to the head, back and shoulder, after he was trapped in a van under a fallen tree.

Elsewhere, gusts of wind up to 89mph blew down more trees and overturned lorries. Up to a foot of snow fell in Scotland. More than 40 schools in Aberdeenshire closed after snow caused transport difficulties.

A spokeswoman for AA Roadwatch warned drivers to take care. "There are problems all over Britain, from the snow in Scotland to heavy rain and gales in England," she said.

The weather caused long delays for passengers at Manchester and Liverpool airports, while Irish Sea and Mersey Ferries cancelled their services. In West Yorkshire, winds and flooding caused chaos on the roads, with the A1 and A1M blocked by overturned vehicles. Cross-Channel ferry services were severely disrupted by 60-knot winds, while a passenger ferry carrying 95 people was stranded on a sand bank off the northern Dutch coast.