2 paragliders killed in Germany; stronger storm forecast


According to German police, two French nationals died after their motorized paraglider was caught in a strong gust of wind and crashed in a field in the center of the country.

Authorities have warned of severe storms across much of Germany, with tornadoes possible in some areas on Friday.

The paragliders, a man and a woman, took off on Thursday from an airfield in Ballenstedt, about 175 kilometers (109 miles) southwest of Berlin, Saxony-Anhalt state authorities said. The couple, both 59, were asked to land due to a forecast of a sudden change in the weather.

Shortly after the warning, “they appear to have been hit by a gust of wind which caused the paraglider to collapse, and the aerial vehicle crashed into a field from a height of about 40 meters (131 feet),” police said.

The storms disrupted traffic, uprooted trees that toppled onto railway tracks and roads, and flooded hundreds of basements in western Germany on Thursday.

Meteorologists said heavy rain and hail were expected in parts of the country on Friday, when the storms could produce winds of up to 130 kilometers per hour (81 mph).

Schools in the western city of Cologne closed before noon to give pupils time to return home safely before storms hit.

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


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