Saturday, January 07, 2017

Several deaths reported due to icy weather in Europe

Heavy snowfall and below-freezing temperatures continued to sweep across the European continent Saturday causing at least 20 deaths, and grounding airplanes and crippling ferries in Italy and Turkey.

At least 10 people have died of the cold in Poland in the past days, according to officials which said they included seven men aged between 41 and 66 who died on Friday. A 51-year-old died of asphyxiation with carbon monoxide from a malfunctioning heater.

Temperatures there dropped below -20 degrees Celsius (-4 F) on Saturday and weather forecasts said it would drop further during the night.

In Belgium, one man died Saturday when his lorry slid off the highway.

In Italy in the past 48 hours the cold has been blamed for seven deaths, including five homeless people, two of them Polish nationals, authorities said.

There was heavy snowfall in central Italy and also in the southeast where the airports at Bari and Brindisi as well as in Sicily were closed Saturday morning.

Temperatures in Moscow fell to minus 30 degrees overnight and to minus 24 in Saint Petersburg where police found the body of a man who had died of hypothermia.

And in Bulgaria on Friday the frozen bodies of two Iraqi migrants were discovered by villagers in a mountain forest in the southeast of the country near the border with Turkey.

Authorities expect the toll to rise as weather conditions are set to remain unchanged this weekend.

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