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ARGENTINA | 17-12-2023 09:23

13 dead in Bahía Blanca after sportsclub roof collapses in storm

Storms with heavy rain and winds of up to 140km per hour hits Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area; At least 13 killed when roof of a sportsclub in Bahía Blanca collapses on top of victims.

A powerful storm that swept across Buenos Aires City and Province left at least 13 people dead Saturday.

The deaths occurred in the port city of Bahía Blanca when part of a wall and the roof of a sports club collapsed on those inside, local authorities said.

The heavy rains and wind that pummelled Bahía Blanca caused the roof and wall to give way at a facility where a skating competition was taking place, according to sources from the local mayor's office.

"Unfortunately, the emergency service confirms the death of 13 people in the Bahiense del Norte club," the municipality said in a statement, adding that firefighters were working at the site where people remained trapped under rubble.

Bahiense del Norte is well-known locally because it is the sports club where former basketball player Emanuel ‘Manu’ Ginóbili – a former star of the Argentine national basketball team and legend of the NBA league in the United States, began his career.

Winds of more than 140 kilometres (87 miles) per hour were recorded in the city, parts of which lost power.

President Javier Milei and Vice-President Victoria Villarruel posted messages on social media expressing their condolences to the families of those killed and those injured. They said aid had already been sent to Bahía Blanca.

"From the Office of the President of the Argentine Republic we communicate that the National Government is monitoring the delicate situation generated by the thunderstorm in the Province of Buenos Aires. We recommend the population to check the weather service and, if necessary, to stay at home during the early hours of the morning,” said Milei in his post.

“The President of the Nation expresses his deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who died as a result of the storm," he added.

Heavy rain and winds swept across the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area (AMBA) on Saturday, causing flooding, damage, fallen trees and even interrupted electricity supply.

Falling trees that hit parked cars and houses could be seen across Buenos Aires after gusts reached heights of 100 kilometres per hour. 

The bad weather persisted throughout the day and into the early hours of Sunday, with social media users posting photographs of the storm, objects that had been knocked down and roofs that had been ripped off by the strong gusts. 

As a result of the storm, several flights were cancelled at the two main air terminals. Planes that were to depart from or land at Aeroparque Jorge Newbery Airport in Buenos Aires City and Ezeiza International Airport on the outskirts of the capital were either cancelled, diverted or delayed. 
 
Argentina’s National Meteorological Service (SMN) issued a short-term warning at 1am saying that severe storms with heavy rain, gusts and occasional hail would continue.
 


– TIMES/NA/AFP
 

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