Strong winds that pummeled Britain killed a taxi driver, whose car was crushed by falling chunks of masonry from a building, and an elderly man who died after a “freak wave” struck a cruise ship in the English Channel, officials said Saturday. An additional 15 cruise-ship passengers were injured.
The taxi driver was killed late Friday in central London near Holborn subway station when part of a building collapsed during a windstorm, police said. She was identified as Julie Sillitoe, a 49-year-old with three sons.
Her passengers, a man and woman, were hospitalized with injuries not believed to be life-threatening, police said. The car wasn’t moving at the time of the building collapse, and the female passenger managed to free herself from the rear of the vehicle.
The 85-year-old cruise- ship passenger died after 80 mph wind gusts kicked up giant waves in the English Channel on Friday afternoon, endangering safety in the crowded shipping lanes used by commercial vessels, cruise ships and pleasure craft. Cruise and Maritime Voyages said a “freak wave” broke five windows on its Marco Polo cruise ship, inundating the ship’s Waldorf Restaurant.
Spokesman Paul Foster said the man died before he could be airlifted for emergency treatment. The cause of death hasn’t been determined, he said.
The Marco Polo was carrying 735 mostly British passengers and 349 crew members when the wave struck.