Man swept out to sea as storms hit Britain

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The Independent Online

Appalling weather conditions hampered an air and sea search for a man swept away off the south coast last night.

Appalling weather conditions hampered an air and sea search for a man swept away off the south coast last night.

A coastguard spokesman said rescue workers feared there was little chance of finding alive the man, who had been spotted clinging to girders beneath the pier before being engulfed by a large wave.

More than 70 flood warnings were in force as Britain prepared for a weekend of severe weather. Alerts were in place in coastal areas of England and Wales, while Northern Ireland and north-west Scotland were hit by winds of up to 85mph.

Storms battered the south and east coasts yesterday, stranding about 75 passengers and crew off Newhaven for two hours when a ferry from Dieppe was blown on to a sandbank. Police closed Blackpool's promenade as it was pounded by waves dozens of feet high.

Forecasters say the winds will die down tomorrow but downpours might continue to cause flooding in the west.

Eight people were killed earlier in the week when winds of up to 120mph caused travel chaos and cut power supplies.

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