Wild weather claims two lives in Canaries

HAROLD HECKLE
Last updated 05:40 28/12/2013

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High winds, torrential rain and crashing waves killed two people and temporarily shut a Spanish opera house, while blustery weather elsewhere in Europe delayed trains and caused severe flooding, authorities said today.

A 47-year-old man and an 11-year-old girl drowned in the Canary Islands when they were swept away by waves on La Graciosa island yesterday, the regional government said in a statement today.

Two other members of the same family - a 16-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl - were rescued by boats. In another incident, a Russian yachtsman was plucked from his foundering vessel.

Valencia's opera house, which was scheduled for a Friday concert, was also shut after parts of the building's masonry fell.

The music venue was designed by Valencia-born architect Santiago Calatrava and generated headlines in 2006 when it was revealed that its construction had cost more than 332 million euros, a sum that was four times the original budget.

In Britain, today's foul weather complicated efforts to clean up from a previous storm which hit just before Christmas, lashing the island nation with driving rain, causing floods, cutting power and snarling travel for thousands.

British energy authorities said that some 20,000 people were without power across the country.

The outages led to an on-camera confrontation today for Prime Minister David Cameron, who was visiting the flood-hit village of Yalding, in southern England, when a woman accosted him and accused authorities of going on their Christmas break without assuring power was turned back on.

An oil tanker that ran aground off the Moroccan port of Tan Tan during high winds Monday, meanwhile, remained stuck there today. The vessel did not appear to be leaking any of its 5,000-ton cargo.

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- AP

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