11 dead as storm lashes northern Europe

11 dead as storm lashes northern Europe
A handout picture from the London Fire Brigade shows firefighters standing outside three houses collapsed in a gas explosion suspected to have been caused by a gas main damaged by a falling tree in Hounslow, west London, on October 28, 2013.

LONDON - At least 11 people were killed on Monday as a fierce storm tore across northern Europe, causing mass disruption to transport.

Four people were killed in Britain and three in Germany as heavy rain and high winds battered the region. The storm also claimed two victims in The Netherlands, one in France and one in Denmark.

Rough conditions at sea also forced rescuers to abandon the search for a 14-year-old boy who disappeared while playing in the surf on a southern English beach on Sunday.

British Prime Minister David Cameron described the loss of life as "hugely regrettable".

Winds reached 99 miles (159 kilometres) per hour on the Isle of Wight off the southern English coast, according to Britain's Met Office national weather centre, while more than 500,000 homes in Britain and France were left without power.

Heavy rain and winds of 80 mph elsewhere brought down thousands of trees and left hundreds of passengers trapped in planes at Copenhagen airport.

In Britain, a 17-year-old girl died after a tree fell on the parked caravan where she was sleeping, while a 51-year-old father of three died when a tree hit his car, police said.

The bodies of a man and a woman were later found in the rubble of three houses in London that collapsed in an explosion thought to have been caused by a gas pipe being ruptured in the storm.

A woman in Amsterdam was killed by a falling tree as she walked along a canal, while in Germany three people were killed when trees fell on their cars.

A 22-year-old man was killed by a falling branch in the central Dutch town of Veenendaal, although high winds had died down by early evening.

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