Rescued Canadian-U.S. couple reunited with family; receiving medical attention

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TORONTO (Reuters) – A U.S.-Canadian couple freed in Pakistan this week, nearly five years after being abducted in Afghanistan, reunited with the husband’s family on Saturday, the Associated Press reported.

Joshua Boyle and Caitlan Coleman arrived with their three children late on Friday in Toronto, where the husband said one of his children was murdered and his wife had been raped.

Citing an email from Boyle, the AP reported the family had “reached the first true ‘home’ that the children have ever known — after they spent most of Friday asking if each subsequent airport was our new house hopefully.”

Boyle, a Canadian, and Coleman, an American were kidnapped while backpacking in Afghanistan in 2012 by the Taliban-allied Haqqani network.

Pakistani troops rescued the family this week in the northwest of the country, near the Afghan border. The United States has long accused Pakistan of failing to fight the Haqqani network. The couple had three children while in captivity.

Boyle opened his Friday media statement by saying he was delayed due to a medical emergency involving one of his children.

AP, citing Boyle’s email, said his daughter had a cursory medical exam and hospital staff were “enthusiastically insistent that her chances seemed miraculously high based on a quick physical.”

Boyle made a brief statement at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport late on Friday, calling on the Taliban “to provide my family with the justice we are owed.”

“God willing, this litany of stupidity will be the epitaph of the Haqqani network,” he said.

Reporting by Maggie Parkhill; Writing by Denny Thomas; Editing by Bill Trott

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How a Heavy Lift Ship Rescued the Damaged USS John S McCain

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If the USS John S. McCain is Vin Diesel—big and strong—the MV Treasure is Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Way bigger, way stronger. It’s what seafaring types call a heavy lift ship, and it’s designed to scoop up all sort of enormous things and haul them around the ocean. Oil rigs, yachts, wind turbines—they all become swaddled babes in the arms of a caring parent when a ship like the Treasure comes calling.

This weekend, it was the McCain’s turn to catch a ride. In August, the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer hit an oil and chemical tanker in the crowded Straits of Malacca, between Singapore and Malaysia. The collision badly dented the McCain’s hull and killed 10 sailors. That crash came just two months after another American destroyer, the USS Fitzgerald, struck a merchant container ship of the coast of Japan, killing seven sailors. (The Navy pinned the collisions on subpar training and dismissed several officers.)

To bring the damaged McCain back to a US naval base in Japan for repairs, the Navy sent the MV Treasure. Like most heavy lift ships, the Treasure works by submerging its deck, keeping the crew and not-so-waterproof machinery above the surface. Tugs maneuver the cargo in question into place, and the deck rises back up, lifting whatever needs lifting. That how’s the USS Cole came home to the US after being bombed in Yemen in 2000. This weekend, it was the McCain’s turn to catch a ride, a miracle of hitchhiking you can watch in the video above.

Once safely back in Japan, the destroyer will get some much-needed repairs, then ship back out to sea, good as new.

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Texas city loses water, 44 dead, but thousands of Harvey survivors rescued

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PORT ARTHUR, Texas (Reuters) – A flood-hit southeast Texas city lost its drinking water supply and police and soldiers rescued thousands still stranded on Thursday after powerful storm Harvey killed 44 people and displaced more than a million on the Gulf Coast.

Some 779,000 Texans have been told to leave their homes and another 980,000 fled voluntarily amid dangers of new flooding from swollen rivers and reservoirs, according to Department of Homeland Security acting secretary Elaine Duke.

The city of Beaumont, about 80 miles (130 km) east of Houston, had its water supplies cut off and was threatened by a rising river that forced the evacuation of its hospital and residents in neighbouring Orange County.

There were explosions at a chemical plant about 25 miles (40 km) east of Houston after it was engulfed by floodwater.

The loss of water and health risks from flooding were among hazards emerging in the aftermath of Harvey, which roared ashore late last Friday as the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in half a century. It has since been downgraded to a tropical depression as it heads inland, leaving devastation across more than 300 miles (480 km) in the southeast corner of the state.Jessica Richard, 24, said she waited out the storm in her home in Port Arthur, about 85 miles (135 km) east of Houston, until Thursday morning when water on her street rose to waist-high. She was picked up by a passing truck.

Richard said her nephew had been trapped with several family members overnight in a flooded apartment. “He said there were snakes in the water and spiders crawling up the walls. But they got out,” she said.

At least 44 people were dead or feared dead in six counties including and around Houston, officials said. Another 19 remained missing.

HOUSE-BY-HOUSE SEARCH

In the U.S. energy hub of Houston, firefighters conducted a house-by-house search to rescue stranded survivors and recover bodies as some residents began to return to their homes to assess the damage.

Seventy percent of Harris County, which encompasses Houston, was covered with 18 inches (45 cm) or more of water, county officials said.

In Beaumont, doctors and nurses evacuated some 190 people from a hospital that halted operations after the storm knocked out water service in the city of almost 120,000 people.

Orange County ordered remaining residents to evacuate from low-lying areas after a forecast that the Neches River would crest on Friday, threatening homes.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visited Texas on Thursday, touring the coastal city of Rockport, where Harvey slammed ashore six days ago.

“The American people are with you. We are here today, we will be here tomorrow and we will be here every day until this city and this state and this region rebuild bigger and better than ever before,” Pence said outside a damaged church.

A group of people carry supplies through flood waters caused by Tropical Storm Harvey in Port Arthur, Texas, U.S. August 31, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

Gasoline futures soared more than 13 percent on Thursday as almost a quarter of U.S. refining capacity had been knocked offline, raising fears of fuel shortages.

About 189,000 homes and businesses remained without power and nearly 100,000 homes suffered flood damage, utilities and state officials said.

COSTLY DISASTER

Moody’s Analytics estimated the economic cost from Harvey for southeastern Texas at $51 billion to $75 billion, ranking it among the costliest storms in American history.

The event has drawn comparisons with Hurricane Katrina, which killed more than 1,800 people in New Orleans in 2005. Then-President George W. Bush’s administration was criticized for its haphazard initial response to that storm, and Donald Trump’s administration was taking care to be seen as responding quickly to its first major natural disaster.

Trump was to return to the region on Saturday.

Early Thursday, explosions could be heard at a chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, owned by Arkema SA (AKE.PA). Refrigeration systems failed in a truck storing volatile chemicals, which ignited as they warmed, sending smoke plumes 40-feet (12-meters) into the air, according to company and public safety officials.

Public safety officials insisted there was no risk to the public outside a 1.5-mile (2.4-km) safety perimeter, but more fires were expected at the facility, underscoring worries of possible damage at other petrochemical plants and oil refineries that dot the region.

As signs of normal life returned to Houston, the nation’s fourth most populous city, there were also concerns about health risks from bacteria and pollutants in floodwater.

The Houston Astros baseball team, forced to play away from the city due to the floods, will return and play at its home field on Saturday. It has invited shelter residents to attend its double header against the New York Mets, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said on his Twitter feed.

Residents began a massive cleanup, dragging water-logged furniture to the curb, hunting for supplies and repair estimates. The city began limited trash pickup and bus services. Hospitals that had struggled to stay open earlier in the week were phasing in clinical operations.

“We are blessed that the rain has stopped,” said Brenda Stardig of the Houston City Council.

Many in Houston were shocked at what they found when they returned home.

Anita Williams, 52, was lined up at a shelter at Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center to register for aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Williams went back to her home on Wednesday to survey the damage to her one-story house.

“It’s not my house anymore,” Williams said. “My deep freezer was in my living room.”

Additional reporting by Richard Valdmanis, Marianna Parraga, Gary McWilliams, Ernest Scheyder, Erwin Seba, Ruthy Munoz, Peter Henderson and Andy Sullivan in Houston, Ben Gruber in Crosby, Texas, Emily Flitter in Orange, Texas, David Gaffen and Christine Prentice in New York, Susan Heavey in Washington, Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas, and Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Andrew Hay

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Tortoise Rescued in Houston During Harvey Relief Efforts

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Hurricane Harvey

No Tortoise Left Behind

8/30/2017 11:36 AM PDT

Rescue efforts in Houston are in full swing … and, no, people aren’t forgetting the 4-legged victims.

This tortoise was rescued Wednesday on a tugboat by Aaron Jayjack during historic flooding in the city. He looks a bit discombobulated … albeit safely aboard and secure.

As we reported … Harvey will have an enormous impact on pets as they become displaced and separated from their homes and owners. 

This big guy might be a shell of his former self after the storm … but at least he isn’t turnt up in the water.

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‘Deadliest Catch’ Finale: Men are rescued from sinking ship; ‘Shaken up’ Sig Hansen marks family milestone

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Ship captains worked through heartbreak in winding up their fishing on Tuesday night’s season finale of “Deadliest Catch.”

After last week’s devastating episode – in which a group of men, including a close friend of Sig Hansen, were presumed dead after being lost at sea – Tuesday’s show featured another crew in distress.

But this time, all survived.

A ship called Predator had a hole in it and its three-man crew was threatened by rising waters in the disabled boat.

But viewers saw U.S. Coast Guard helicopter pilots raising each of the three men up to safety in rescue baskets. It was a happy ending this time as all three of the Predator guys were survivors.

On the Northwestern, Edgar took over because his brother, captain Sig, was so “shaken up” about the fishermen of the Destination dying that he told Edgar he was going home.

Edgar sighed about their friends who perished, “My heart goes out to their families,” and vowed to finish out the Northwestern’s season on a high note.

One of the deck hands commented that he was nervous without Sig and Edgar knew he had to earn their respect. Although the men were skeptical, Edgar led the boat into shallower waters and they got strong crab hauls.

Each Northwestern crew man would wind up with $45,000 for working the season. Hansen phoned his brother and said, “I’m proud of you, man. You’re a true fisherman at heart.”

After getting off the call with Sig, Edgar began to cry.

At the end of the episode, viewers saw Sig with his wife celebrating the wedding of their daughter Mandy to Hansen’s deck hand, Clark Pederson.

“This is our reward….This is what life’s all about,” Sig said, popping a champagne cork at the nautical-themed wedding.

Tuesday’s “Deadliest Catch” episode also showed how the other skippers fared.

Wild Bill Wichrowski suffered a failing generator on the Summer Bay but his engineers fixed the problem.

After hauling in decent crab pots, Wichrowski hugged deck boss Nick McGlashan, telling the cameras he was happy to have helped McGlashan in his rehabilitation.

Jake Anderson’s Saga came to a season’s end with his deck boss Hannes Huswick breaking his hand on a freezer door.

But Anderson begged Huswick to continue working, and the brave crew man did.

They nabbed 602 crab despite Huswick’s injury. In fact, it was the Saga’s high pot of the season.

Anderson crowed that is “sure feels good for once to win” after his dreadful time with crew and mechanical issues.

Meanwhile, Sean Dwyer’s crew on the Brenna A also finished strong and wound up earning $48,000 each.

Fans also got a last look at retiring captain Johnathan Hillstrand, who has taken up another passion– car racing!

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Storm Harvey: Up to 2,000 rescued as Houston hit by ‘catastrophic floods’

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Media captionMany people have had to be rescued from flood water

Up to 2,000 people have been rescued from floods in and around Houston, as Tropical Storm Harvey continues to batter Texas with heavy rains.

There are reports of possible deaths in submerged vehicles, but investigations continue, Chief Darryl Coleman of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office said.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott told the media he could not confirm storm-related deaths.

The National Weather Service (NWS) says conditions are “unprecedented”.

It said there was a “flash flood emergency” across the Houston Metro area, with travel near impossible.

Many shelters have been opened, including in a convention centre.

Governor Abbott said about 250 roads and motorways had been closed in Texas and that he had made a federal disaster declaration for 19 counties that was granted by President Donald Trump.

“We are dealing with a triangle of ongoing rain, including Houston, Victoria and Corpus Christi cities,” Mr Abbott said.

“We will continue receiving incredibly heavy rain.”

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Houston Transtar

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A CCTV image shows a section of the I-610 freeway in Houston

The NWS earlier noted reports of five deaths in the area, but only one fatality in Houston has been confirmed.

Two deaths have so far been confirmed from the storm since it made landfall:

  • In Aransas County, where Rockport is the chief town, a person died in a house fire on Friday night
  • A woman died in Houston as she drove through flooded streets on Saturday

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has urged residents not to call emergency services unless their situation is life-threatening and they need to be rescued.

“Don’t get on the road. Don’t assume this storm is over,” he said.

In Rockport: Too poor to flee the hurricane

Officials in Harris County, of which Houston is the county seat, have asked people who own boats to help with rescues.

Houston Bush Airport has announced that all commercial flight operations have been stopped until further notice. Houston’s other airport, Hobby, is also shut, with runways completely flooded.

In Washington, the White House said that President Trump would visit Texas on Tuesday to survey storm damage. Mr Trump had earlier said that he would go as soon as it was possible to do so “without causing disruption”.

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Reuters

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More than 3,000 National Guard members are on-hand to help in Houston and elsewhere

At 14:00 local time (19:00 GMT) on Sunday, the NWS said Houston had had an August rainfall total of 25.50in (64.8cm), making it the wettest month on record.

Roads have turned into rivers

by James Cook, BBC News, Houston

Inside Houston a disaster is unfolding. The motorways are deserted except for fire engines, police cars and other emergency vehicles.

Moving around the city is extremely difficult and dangerous. And yet some people are still driving, adding to the pressure on city authorities

Everywhere you look cars are being abandoned as people scramble to find high ground. Roads have turned to rivers along which evacuees are being taken to safety in boats and in army-style, open-back lorries.

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Twitter/@caroleenam/Reuters

They are huddled together under blankets and towels, glad to be alive. And still the rain comes teeming down, bouncing off the ground and bursting out of drains.

Houston is facing a crisis on an unprecedented scale.

Follow James on Twitter

Flooding in the Houston area is expected to worsen and “could become historic”, with “potentially significant flooding also expected in other saturated areas of south-east [Texas]”, the forecaster says.

Like Houston, the island city of Galveston was also hit by “epic catastrophic flooding” overnight, the NWS added.

An inundated care home in Dickinson, Galveston County, is reported to have been evacuated by helicopter after an image of several elderly women sitting in a lounge in waist-deep water went viral on social media.

Rescue efforts are being hampered by strong winds and thousands are without power. The US Coast Guard in Houston has requested more helicopters as more people ask for help.

Mr Abbott earlier said another 40in of rain could be due before the storm subsides midweek.

Houston is the country’s fourth biggest city, with 6.6m people living in the metropolitan area.

Meanwhile, Exxon Mobil has said it is shutting down the second-largest refinery in the country, at Baytown. The Texas Gulf Coast is a key centre of the US oil and gas industry.

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Media captionTexas took a battering and is witnessing severe flooding

Harvey began as a major category four hurricane – the first to make landfall in the US in 13 years when it arrived late Friday – but was downgraded to a tropical storm later on Saturday.

It is forecast to meander across south-east Texas until Wednesday.

The storm is the strongest to hit the US since Charley in August 2004 and the most powerful to hit Texas since Hurricane Carla in 1961, which killed 34 people, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Are you affected by Tropical Storm Harvey? Let us know about your experiences. Email with your stories.

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

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Charleston restaurant gunman who killed employee shot by police, hostage rescued, mayor says

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A hostage situation in a South Carolina restaurant Thursday has ended after police shot the gunman, according to officials.

One person was held hostage in the restaurant, Virginia’s on King, and has been safely rescued from the building, the Charleston Police Department said on Twitter. 

Police also confirmed that the restaurant employee who was shot by the assailant has died.

The gunman, believed to be a disgruntled employee, was shot by police and taken to a local hospital in critical condition.

“The shooter is a disgruntled employee. This is not an act of terrorism or hate crime,” Mayor John Tecklenburg said at a news conference.

Charleston police received a call about an “active shooter situation” just after 12 p.m. at Virginia’s on King, the mayor’s office said.

John Aquino, an owner of the restaurant, told WSCS he thinks the gunman, who was dressed as a kitchen staff member and Aquino believes to be a former dishwasher, was angry and shot a male chef out of revenge.

Tecklenburg said as of 2:30 p.m. the situation is “still unfolding” and the shooter is still in the building. Charleston Police spokesman Charles Francis told reporters the shooter was holding “a couple” of hostages and negotiations between officials and the shooter are being conducted. 

The area surrounding the restaurant was blocked and Charleston police asked residents to avoid the area.

Tom and Patsy Plant, who were eating lunch in the restaurant, told The Post and Courier a man came into the kitchen with a loaded gun and said, “There’s a new boss in town.” The couple escaped the restaurant through the back door. 

Another diner said the unidentified armed man locked the front door and announced, “I am the new king of Charleston.” 

About 30 people were dining in the restaurant at the time, witnesses told the newspaper. 

Charleston Police sent SWAT teams and a bomb disposal unit to the area and warned people nearby to stay inside buildings or leave.

The incident is a few blocks away from Emanuel AME church, where nine black members of a church were killed by a white man during a June 2015 Bible study. Dylann Roof was sentenced to death in the case.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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Rescued piglets served up as sausages to firefighters

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Sausages served up to firefighters at Pewsey Fire StationImage copyright
Pewsey Fire Station

Image caption

Firefighters celebrated their reward by putting the sausages on a barbecue

A litter of piglets whose bacon was saved from a barn fire has been served up as dinner to the firefighters who rescued them.

The 18 piglets and two sows survived the fire in Wiltshire in February, which saw 60 tonnes of hay catch fire.

In a controversial move, farm manager Rachel Rivers thanked the Pewsey fire team by giving them sausages.

She said: “I’m sure vegetarians will hate this.” The firefighters however said the bangers were “fantastic”.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) said the piglets were “no better off” for escaping the fire.

“We’ll be sending Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service packs of vegan sausages so that they can see how easy it is to truly be heroes for pigs – by sparing them all suffering,” said spokesman Mimi Bekhechi.

More on this story and other news from the West of England

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Media captionFarmer Rachel Rivers gifted sausages to firefighters

The animals were given a six-month stay of execution when they were rescued from the farm at Milton Lilbourne.

But, having been reared for meat, they were then slaughtered and delivered as sausages to the fire station team, which barbecued them.

Ms Rivers defended the gift, saying farming is her livelihood and way of life.

‘Inevitable’

“I gave those animals the best quality of life I could ever give until the time they go to slaughter and they go into the food chain,” she said.

“You do feel sad at the end of it… but to bring them down for [the firefighters] was a good way of saying ‘thank you’.”

The farm’s owner, Canon Gerald Osbourne, added: “An inevitable part of farming is the death of an animal which gives us the food to eat.”

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The 18 piglets and two sows “can’t be kept as pets” their owner said

The delighted firefighters said the sausages were “highly recommended” and thanked the farmer “for her generosity”.

“We can tell no porkies, the sausages were fantastic,” a spokesman said on Tuesday.

However, the fire service has since removed the pictures of the impromptu barbecue from its Facebook page and a spokesman said it would not comment further.

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Pewsey Fire Station

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An electrical fault set about 60 tonnes of hay on fire in February

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Northern Ireland floods: More than 100 people rescued

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Flooded roadImage copyright
Johnny Gallagher

Image caption

A flooded road between Strabane and Clady in County Tyrone

More than 120 people had to be rescued in Northern Ireland after being trapped by overnight flooding.

The north west was worst affected, particularly Londonderry, as well as other parts of the county and Tyrone.

Firefighters rescued 93 people who were trapped by flood water in their cars or homes. At one point, the fire service got an emergency call every 45 seconds.

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Daniel O’Connell

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Flooding in Whitehouse near Londonderry

The Met Office confirmed that 63% of the average August rainfall fell within a 8-9 hours period.

The coastguard rescued more than 30 people, with helicopters being brought in from Scotland, Wales and Sligo.

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Media captionDozens trapped in cars during flooding in Londonderry

Other people were helped by the police, ambulance service and other agencies.

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Media captionRoads in Londonderry and the north west were hit by serious flooding

The Department for Infrastructure said a “multi-agency conference meeting” was held on Wednesday.

In a statement the Department said: “Agencies deployed all available resources, working together to respond to a very high volume of calls from the public needing assistance and distributed sandbags.

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Cars stacked on top of each other in Drumahoe, County Londonderry

“As a result of houses being flooded and motorists stranded, Derry City and Strabane District Council opened several centres to temporarily accommodate affected members of the public.

“These centres remained opened throughput the night. The Red Cross and the Western Health and Social Care Trust assisted in these centres during the night.

“The scheme of emergency financial assistance, which is administered by Councils is open to all residents significantly affected by flooding within their homes.”

The heavy rain on Tuesday night came after a yellow weather warning was issued for many parts of Northern Ireland.

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Johnny Gallagher

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Flooding in County Tyrone

All flights to and from City of Derry Airport are cancelled on Wednesday.

The fire service said it received 402 emergency 999 calls between 19:00 BST and 04:00 and during a peak period between 21:00 and 23:00 BST, they were getting an emergency call every 45 seconds.

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John O’Neill

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A fallen sign pointing the way to Belfast and Dungiven

“Firefighters worked in extremely challenging circumstances to reach people,” Alan Walmsley of the fire service said.

“A number of roads were impassable due to flooding and crews had to take alternative routes to attend some incidents.”

Ryan Gray, from the Coastguard, said: “Flood water up to 6cms in depth will take a human being off their feet and if it does so, it’s very unlikely that the person will be able to stand up again,” he said.

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My Omagh

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A landslide due to the heavy rain at the Gortin Glens in County Tyrone

“This was a metre and a half of flood water – it was lifting vehicles up and taking them down, the current of the water

“There was a little bit of panic, thankfully the rescue teams are very well trained and they managed to calm the scene down and rescue people.

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My Omagh

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Brookmount Road, Omagh, was severely flooded on Tuesday night

“All the emergency services – the police, fire and ambulance and Coastguard and the voluntary agencies all worked extremely well together last night in extremely challenging conditions.”

Bridges collapsed on the Camlough Road near Carrickmore, County Tyrone, and on Church Steet in Claudy, County Londonderry.

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Press Eye

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A bridge has collapsed on the Camlough Road near Carrickmore

Dawn Grieve and her two young sons were rescued from their home in the Ivy Mead area of Derry by tractor.

“I had to leave the house, I actually got a tractor ride out of there by two local boys – their mum lives at the top of our street,” she said.

“I have two young boys, one is four and one is two, and we had to get out of there at about half three this morning.

“It was too bad for them – they were scared.”

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Storm damage at the park and ride in Drumahoe

Paul Duddy, a motorist caught up in the flooding, told BBC News NI he had “never seen anything like this in all my life”.

“It was terrifying, particularly whenever I seen the water coming up over the bonnet of the car. I don’t know how the car didn’t stall completely.”

Brigid Mullan, from Claudy, told BBC News NI she was stranded on the Victoria Road in Derry.

“We met a woman from Plumbridge who was very, very distressed so I offered to try to get her to Plumbridge.

“We didn’t get near Plumbridge, we got halfway there and the roads were flooded. We had to turn.

“And it is now exactly 11.15, and we are sitting slightly above the Everglades Hotel. There is nobody to come up and advise people the length of time it is going to take.”

SDLP leader and Foyle MLA Colum Eastwood tweeted that the flooding was “shocking”.

“Families and businesses struggling to cope and big questions for statutory agencies. Where was the preparation?”

The Foyle Arena was opened from 23:00 BST for those affected.

The Roads Service say the following roads remain closed on Wednesday morning: County Londonderry: A5 Victoria Road between Strabane and Derry, Gregg Road, Lower deck Craigavon Bridge, Church Brae, Drumnahoe Road, A2 Clooney Road (between Maydown and Eglinton), Ballynamee Bridge in Claudy has collapsed, Hall Road, Coleraine.

County Tyrone: Drumeen Road, Donaghanie Road, A505 Cookstown Road, Camlough Road, Whitebridge Road, Plumbridge – bridge closed, Crockanboy Road.

Roads reopened are: Maghermason, Skeoge, Cross Border Road/Donegal, Letterkenny Roundabout, Buncranna.

Translink has said there is severe disruption on the Coleraine to Antrim railway line due to the weather.

Bus substitutions are being provided.

There are also delays to some bus services in the north west.

Full details are on the Translink website.

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Ischia earthquake: Race to reach brothers after baby rescued

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Media captionThe moment a baby is rescued from the rubble

Rescuers are desperately trying to reach two brothers trapped under rubble after a deadly earthquake on the Italian holiday island of Ischia.

They pulled free the boys’ seven-month-old brother at around 04:00 (02:00 GMT), several hours after the 4.0 magnitude tremor struck.

At least two women have died and 39 people are injured after the shaking brought down several buildings.

The island, off the coast of Naples, has a population of about 50,000.

It is extremely popular with tourists, many of whom were out in the bars and restaurants when the quake hit at 20:57 (19:57 GMT) – striking at a depth of around 5km (3 miles) just north of the Casamicciola commune.

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Reuters

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As dawn breaks, the rescue effort continues

“A horrible experience, everything was shaking, plunged into darkness, houses were collapsing… a nightmare,” one person wrote on Twitter.

Another said: “I was on the couch watching TV. Blackout, shaking, something fell on my head. I scream, my mother grabs me and we ran outside.”

One elderly woman was reportedly killed by debris falling from a church, while another body was found in the rubble of collapsed building.

At least 1,500 people have been left homeless, Il Messagero reports.

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EPA

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Hotels, a church, hospital and homes were damaged

The seven-month-old boy was rescued from a family home that collapsed, to cheers from the emergency workers.

The father and two women, one of whom is pregnant, were also saved from the rubble.

Now rescuers are trying to reach the baby’s two brothers. They have been given water by the emergency workers, local media reported.

Angelo Borrelli, head of civil protection, told was quoted by La Repubblica as saying they were cautiously optimistic of reaching the boys, but warned as “more time passes the more the situation becomes complicated”.

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EPA

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Many people gathered in the streets after the quake struck

Parts of the island were said to be without power.

A hospital in another badly hit commune, Lacco Ameno, had to be evacuated. The injured were treated outside the building and a number of patients were airlifted to Naples, local media reported.

The Italian Red Cross confirmed on Twitter they were working with local authorities.

Extra ferries, from Naples to Ischia, were laid on during the night to bring more rescue workers to the island and allow holidaymakers to leave. Dozens of people are said to have ended their holidays early and Italian media said some tourists were sleeping on benches waiting for boats to arrive.

An emergency response team was quickly on the scene, partly because additional numbers were already on the island to fight localised bush fires.


Did you witness the earthquake in Ischia? Share your views, experiences, photos and video by emailing .

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

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