Two killed as gales sweep across Britain

AT LEAST two people died yesterday as winds gusting up to 75mph swept across Britain. Severe weather warnings were issued as eastern England was hit by floods. The high winds are expected to continue today in Scotland.

A motorist travelling on the A1304 near Newmarket, Suffolk, died after a falling tree crashed down on her car. A second motorist died in Cambridgeshire when a lorry was in collision with his Mercedes car in high winds. The accident happened on the A47 at Guyhirn, near Wisbech.

Flooding hit the Humberside villages of Goxhill, Humberston, and Ashby cum Fenby. A flash flood cut off the village of Sinnington in North Yorkshire, when the river Seven burst its banks in two places.

Three boys were involved in a dramatic rescue yesterday after they slipped into rain-swollen rivers in the North-east. Nathan Stanton, 12, fell in to the beck at Team Valley, Gateshead, pulling with him his friends David Pharoh, 11, and Paul Valentine, 13. John Murphy, 29, a passer-by, managed to wade into the water and hold on to two of them. Nathan was swept into a culvert 200 yards downstream, but clung to a ladder fastened to the walls for more than 30 minutes until firemen reached him.

Three other boys had a narrow escape after falling into a flooded beck at Deneside Park in Seaham, Co Durham.

A 25-metre section of the historic Cromer pier, on the north Norfolk coast, was swept away after being damaged by a runaway barge which broke from its moorings.

The captain of a leaking coaster, the 1,000-ton Tern, who had battled single- handedly through heavy seas and 60mph winds to beach his stricken vessel on the East Sussex coast, was hailed a hero by rescue services. The four other crew had been winched to safety.

The M1 in Hertfordshire was closed for several hours after gale force winds blew scaffolding from roadworks over both carriageways, a spokesman for AA Roadwatch said. The winds also led to the temporary closure of the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge over the river Thames, at Dartford in Kent.