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Switzerland: storm kills one and injures some 15 people

A building destroyed after a deadly storm sweeps through La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switizerland
A building destroyed after a deadly storm sweeps through La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switizerland Copyright FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP or licensors
Copyright FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP or licensors
By Euronews with AFP
Published on Updated
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Rescue and clearing operations are continuing. The police are appealing to the public not to put themselves at any risk. They also advised locals to avoid wooded areas.

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At least one man has died in Switzerland after a violent storm swept through the town of La Chaux-de-Fonds in the northwest of the country on Monday.

The storm "unfortunately caused the death of a person in their fifties following the fall of a building crane", Neuchâtel local police said in a press release.

"In addition to this victim, around fifteen other people were injured and are being treated by the emergency services, but their prognosis was not life-threatening", it added.

The storm did not last long, but the strong gusts of wind caused significant damage.

According to the Swiss weather service, it was "a probable tornado associated with a rapidly developing thunderstorm cell along the Jura" that hit the Swiss town along the French border.

"Wind gusts of 217 km/h were recorded by our station at La Chaux-de-Fonds aerodrome this Monday morning, under a thunderstorm cell that suddenly strengthened as it reached the region," MétéoSuisse said on Twitter.

Vehicles have been damaged or completely destroyed, roofs have been ripped off, street furniture has been blown away and trees have been uprooted.

Before reaching Switzerland, the storm hit eastern France, particularly the Doubs département, at around 11 am on Monday.

Nearby, on the French side of the border, "around thirty homes" were also been hit, although the extent of the damage is unknown at this stage, said the Doubs prefecture.

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