Train derailed and aircraft crash lands as torrential rain hits Britain

Floods and torrential rain caused mayhem across the country last night, derailing a train in Scotland, closing Gatwick airport and causing a plane to crash-land at Bournemouth.

Floods and torrential rain caused mayhem across the country last night, derailing a train in Scotland, closing Gatwick airport and causing a plane to crash-land at Bournemouth.

More than 20 passengers were hurt when a ScotRail train came off the rails near Glenluce, in southern Scotland, after flooding washed away a stretch of the track bed. The front and second carriages of the train, which was travelling from Newcastle to Stranraer, came off the tracks. Most of the injuries were not serious but eight people were admitted to Stranraer's Garrick Hospital.

The most severe weather was in the south of England, where flights in and out of Gatwick airport were diverted after a Boeing 747 slid off the runway and into mud.

The plane had landed to pick up passengers en route from Manchester to Thailand. None of the 146 people on board were injured, but attempts to tow the plane from its position were hampered by heavy rain and high winds. Airport officials immediately closed the runway, forcing inbound flights to divert to Luton, Heathrow, Stansted and Manchester.

In a joint statement, Gatwick Airport Ltd and Sussex Police said: "As a result of the incident, serious disruption to flights has been caused. There are no flights in or out of the airport."

In a separate incident, four people were hurt when the undercarriage of a plane that had left Gatwick earlier carrying 38 people made an emergency landing at Bournemouth International Airport.

The ATR 72 plane was diverted to Bournemouth because of bad weather in the Channel Islands and its undercarriage collapsed as it landed in torrential rain. The injured were believed to have been hurt as they left the plane, rather than on impact.

Meanwhile, the Environment Agency issued a total of 49 flood warnings for 17 rivers in the South West, South East, the Midlands and Yorkshire. left Rain left scores of homes flooded, rendered hundreds of roads impassable and caused mudslides as rivers and drains proved unable to cope.

In White Notley, Essex, 39 youngsters and two adults escaped from a school bus unscathed when an overhead electricity cable collapsed on top of the vehicle in high winds.

Rain in Scotland left one village, Portpatrick, partially cut off by standing water and the primary school was turned into an emergency refuge as homes had floods up to a metre high. Some roads in Central Scotland were closed as motorists became stranded in water.

On the Isle of Wight, one of the worst-hit areas, 18 hours of rain made more than 100 roads impassable and forced drivers to abandon their cars. Wroxall recorded the South's highest rainfall of 56.6mm, more than half the area's total average October rainfall of 75mm.

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