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Two paragliders killed in Germany amid warning over storms

Lightning flashes across the sky in Stuttgart, Germany (Andreas Rosar/dpa via AP)
Lightning flashes across the sky in Stuttgart, Germany (Andreas Rosar/dpa via AP)

Two French nationals have died after their motorised paraglider was caught by a strong gust of wind and crashed in a field in Germany.

Authorities warned of strong storms across much of Germany, with tornadoes possible in some areas.

The paragliders, a man and a woman, took off from an airfield in Ballenstedt, about 109 miles south-west of Berlin, according to authorities in the state of Saxony-Anhalt.

The pair, both 59, were urged to land due to a forecast for an abrupt change in the weather.

Police said that shortly after the warning “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 from a height of about 40 metres”.

Storms disrupted traffic, uprooted trees that toppled onto rail tracks and roads, and flooded hundreds of basements in western Germany.

Meteorologists said heavy rainfall and hail were expected in parts of the country on Friday, when storms could produce wind speeds of up to 81mph.

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

Further south in Ahrweiler, all schools were closed on Friday. More than 130 people were killed in the region after it was hit by a flash flood in July 2021.

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