Two campers died when a tornado ripped through neighbouring campsites in Ardèche and Gard yesterday, on a weekend that saw much of France battered by storms.
A 50-year-old camper was killed when the tornado touched down at a campsite in Saint-Just d’Ardèche, causing trees to fall on dozens of tents. And a 46-year-old woman was fatally injured when the same tornado felled a tree at a site in Saint-Paulet-de-Caisson.
A total 40 campers were evacuated as the twister damaged a number of trees. The twin tragedies in Ardèche and Gard were caused as storms that swept across France passed through Cévennes and Nimes before returning to the Rhône Gard.
Elsewhere, hailstones the size of golf balls left 10 people injured and forced organisers to call a halt to a planned concert by Vanessa Paradis at the Grand Souk festival in Riberac, Dordogne, on Saturday.
Meanwhile, 1,000 jazz fans had to be evacuated from a festival concert in Saint-Emilion. Planned events on Sunday were also cancelled as volunteers cleared up after the storm.
Six scouts from Oise were taken to hospital in Gironde, on Saturday, after suffering lightning burns while on a camping trip in Saint-Simon de Pellouaille. Across Aquitaine, 8,500 households were left without power as storms swept through the region on Saturday night.
Monday, 21 July, 2014 at 10:05 (10:05 AM) UTC RSOE
Storms leave two dead on French camp-sites
Published: 20 Jul 2014 21:21 GMT+02:00
Updated: 20 Jul 2014 21:21 GMT+02:00
The tornado hit a campsite in the town of Saint-Just-d’Ardeche, pulling down trees and destroying caravans and tents on Sunday afternoon.
A 42-year-old Frenchman died when a tree fell on him as the tornado hit. Five others were left injured although their conditions are not believed to be life-threatening.
Captain François Degrange, from the local police told AFP that trees had been brought down over a three to four kilometer radius.
“I have never seen that in my career before,” he said.
In a separate incident a woman was also killed by a falling tree at a campsite at Saint-Paulet-de-Caisson in the neighbouring Gard department.
According to Midi-Libre newspaper a baby was also injured as the storms hit and had to be rushed to hospital.
Hundreds of campers in the region have had to be evacuated.
The storms, which brought the mini-heatwave to an abrupt end, were accompanied by gale force winds and hailstones the size of tennis balls in some regions.
Nine departments in eastern France remained on alert for storms on Sunday evening, while other areas of north eastern France were on alert for heavy rain and floods.