Wild storms that blew through Australia's southeast on Friday were blamed for the deaths of three people while another was missing amid widespread blackouts and damage, officials said. Two people died in New South Wales state when a light aircraft crashed in stormy conditions near the town of Condobolin and burst into flames, police said.
The pilot and a passenger were confirmed dead but rescue teams, hampered by bad weather, had yet to recover the body of a missing passenger, police said. A man was crushed by a falling tree in the national capital Canberra as two small tornadoes lashed the city, uprooting trees, cutting power lines and damaging the two main hospitals, emergency services spokesman Peter Dunn said.
The Canberra Hospital, the city's largest, lost windows and Calvary Hospital had to resort to its emergency power generator as hail and 100-kilometer (60-mile) winds pounded the city, he said. He said both hospitals remained functional.
In Canberra's surrounds, two storms ripped roofs from homes and widespread areas of southern and central New South Wales were without power and flooded, emergency services reported.
Further north, roofs of around 40 homes were damaged within 10 minutes when a wild storm hit the small central western Queensland state town of Aramac, authorities said. The local hospital sustained damage and patients were evacuated, they said, reports the AP. I.L.