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Berlin storms kill seven

The storm uprooted trees and caused havoc with travel
The storm uprooted trees and caused havoc with travel  

BERLIN, Germany -- Two boys -- aged 14 and 15 -- were among seven people killed during powerful storms which lashed eastern Germany, authorities said.

People throughout the city were cleaning up debris and wreckage on Thursday after hurricane-force winds wrought havoc in the German capital overnight, triggering the biggest deployment of Berlin emergency services in 25 years.

Howling winds reaching 150km/h (90mph) brought trees and branches crashing down in the city and surrounding region.

Streets were strewn with debris, disrupting public transport and causing traffic delays, Reuters news agency reported. Air traffic and some rail services were suspended.

Two of those who perished were teenagers crushed to death by a falling tree at a campsite on Wannsee lake that had earlier been visited by New York children, all related to firemen killed in the September 11 attacks on the United States.

The group had visited the site on an island as part of a day exchange programme and had left before the storm struck.

Thirteen other campers were injured, two of them seriously. The high winds made rescuing the group on the island difficult, police said.

Trees blown onto parked cars in Berlin
Trees blown onto parked cars in Berlin  

Two men were killed in northern Berlin by falling trees while in the surrounding Brandenburg region, branches and debris killed three people.

Berlin's main Tegel airport was closed to traffic for some time and a Crossair passenger aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing after running out of fuel.

The plane's 20 occupants escaped unharmed after the aircraft landed safely in a former Soviet airfield at Werneuchen in the eastern part of the city.

Dozens of people were reported injured by flying debris and glass overnight and firefighters said they answered over 2,000 emergency calls for assistance.

German television said emergency services in Hamburg received about 600 calls for assistance. There were several reports of lightning setting fire to buildings.

Reuters contributed to this report.




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