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Two paragliders killed amid strong storms in Germany

A thunderstorm moves over Duesseldorf in Germany.
A thunderstorm moves over Duesseldorf in Germany. Copyright Stella Venohr/dpa via AP
Copyright Stella Venohr/dpa via AP
By Euronews with AP, AFP
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"They appear to have been hit by a gust of wind that caused the paraglider to collapse, and the air vehicle crashed onto a field,” police said on Friday.

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Police in Germany say two French nationals have died after their motorised paraglider was caught in a storm.

The man and woman are believed to have taken off from an airfield in Ballenstedt on Thursday, southwest of Berlin.

Authorities in Saxony-Anhalt state said the pair were urged to land due to a forecast for an abrupt change in the weather.

"They appear to have been hit by a gust of wind that caused the paraglider to collapse, and the air vehicle crashed onto a field,” police said on Friday.

Germany’s national weather service had warned that western parts of the country could see heavy storms on Friday, as well as possible tornadoes.

The DWD weather service forecast heavy rain and hail in western and northwestern Germany on Thursday, with some areas seeing gusts of up to 130 kilometres per hour.

Schools in the western city of Cologne closed before midday to give students time to make it home safely before the weather hit.

So far, storms have disrupted traffic, uprooted trees onto railway tracks and roads, and flooded hundreds of basements.

A tornado hit the western German town of Lippstadt causing heavy damage, officials said on Friday.

Meanwhile, the French government has also placed 17 departments in the Paris and Hauts-de-France region on alert for thunderstorms.

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