LONDON: At least 10 people were killed 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. Another three died in Denmark, France and the Netherlands.
Rough conditions at sea forced rescuers to abandon the search for a 14-year-old boy who disappeared while playing in the surf on a southern English beach Sunday.
British Prime Minister David Cameron described the loss of life as “hugely regrettable.”
Winds reached 159 kilometers per hour on the Isle of Wight off the southern English coast, according to Britain’s Met Office national weather center, while more than 500,000 homes in Britain and France were left without power.
Heavy rain and winds of 128 kph elsewhere brought down thousands of trees and left hundreds of passengers trapped in planes at Copenhagen’s main 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 after a gas pipe was 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.
In France, a 47-year-old woman was swept away by waves on the island of Belle-Ile in Brittany and her body was found on a beach several hours later.
The storm claimed a ninth victim in Denmark when a man was hit by a flying brick as a wall collapsed in the port town of Gilleleje.
Some 460,000 homes lost power across Britain, with a further 75,000 homes affected in northern France, according to industry organizations. Thousands were later reconnected.
The electricity also went down at a nuclear power station in southeast England. Dungeness B station automatically closed down both its reactors, leaving its diesel generators to provide power for essential safety systems.
The storm sparked mass cancellations of train services across southern England, Denmark, the Netherlands and parts of Germany.
A spokeswoman for Copenhagen’s main airport said some 500 people were trapped in their planes after strong winds made it impossible to connect stairways to the exits.
London’s Heathrow Airport canceled 130 flights, about 10 percent of its schedule, while delays were reported on the Eurostar cross-channel train service due to speed restrictions.
More than 450 people were stranded on two ferries outside the English port of Dover after it closed for more than two hours, finally docking shortly after 9 a.m.
Even Buckingham Palace in London was affected, although Queen Elizabeth II was not staying there at the time.
A spokeswoman said several slates fell off the roof and two of the windows were cracked.
And Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg had to cancel his monthly news conference because the government building where he works was closed after a crane fell on the roof.
The Met Office said 50 millimeters of rain fell in some areas of Britain overnight, while the Environment Agency issued around 130 flood alerts.
The storm was called Christian in France and dubbed St. Jude by the British media, named after the patron saint of lost causes whose feast day is Monday.