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One dead after ‘likely tornado’ hits Switzerland

One dead after 'likely tornado' hits Switzerland
Source: Video Screenshot

One person was killed and around 15 others injured in northwestern Switzerland on Monday after a “likely tornado” struck a city in the Jura mountains, causing significant damage.

The storm hit the watchmaking city of La Chaux-de-Fonds in the Neuchatel region bordering France.

The storm “unfortunately caused the death of one person in their 50s following the toppling of a construction crane”, the Neuchatel police said.

“About 15 injured people were taken care of by the emergency services.”

The storm passed through quickly but the strong winds caused significant damage.

Vehicles were damaged or destroyed, roofs were torn off, street furniture was blown away and trees were uprooted.

“A likely tornado associated with a rapidly developing storm along the Jura” hit La Chaux-de-Fonds in the late morning, according to the Swiss national weather service.

“A gust of 217 kilometres (135 miles) per hour was recorded by our station at La Chaux-de-Fonds aerodrome this Monday morning, under a storm cell which suddenly strengthened when arriving in the region,” MeteoSwiss said on Twitter.

Rescue and clean-up operations are under way, while the Neuchatel police urged people not to expose themselves to risks such as falling tiles or trees.

It also warned that further storms were likely and urged people to avoid going outside.

Before reaching Switzerland, the storm hit eastern France. The Doubs department authorities told AFP that Montlebon, around 18 kilometres from La Chaux-de-Fonds, had been hit the hardest.

The village hall, the church and the school as well as “around 15 houses” suffered roof damage. There were no injuries.

Elsewhere on the French side of the border, around 30 houses were also affected, with the full extent of the damage as yet unknown.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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