MADRID (Reuters) – A 20-month-old girl died after being struck on the head during a violent hailstorm that caused havoc in Catalonia, northeastern Spain, authorities said on Wednesday.
Fist-sized hailstones up to 10 centimetres (4 inches) in diameter rained down on Tuesday on an area around the village of La Bisbal d’Emporda. They caused injuries – mostly broken bones and bruising – to around 50 other people, broadcaster TV3 said.
“People started screaming and hiding”, said musician Sicus Carbonell, who filmed the storm’s destructive aftermath in Castell d’Emporda, a nearby hotel where his band was playing a canvas-covered terrace when everyone was forced to run for cover.
“There was chaos, with little boys and girls running around alone, some parents were able to grab their children,” he told Reuters.
“There was a little girl of around three or four who was not sheltering under the parasol. I ran out and grabbed her…
“Then a hailstone broke though the fabric … and I told my group that either we get into the restaurant or one of those tennis balls would land on us and we wouldn’t make it.”
The toddler who was struck in the head in La Bisbal d’Emporda girl died at Girona’s Trueta hospital, authorities there said.
The hailstones were the biggest recorded in two decades in Catalonia, according to meteorological agency Meteocat. Parts of the region remained on storm alert on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Emma Pinedo, editing by Aislinn Laing and John Stonestreet)