Storm Ali: Woman dies after caravan is blown of cliff

A woman has died after the caravan she was in was blown off a cliff onto a beach in the west of Ireland during Storm Ali, Irish police said.

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Emergency services have been tasked to the scene

Emergency services have been tasked to the scene

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She was believed to be aged in her fifties.

Rescuers attended at Claddaghduff, near Clifden in Co Galway, on Wednesday morning.

The west of Ireland has been battered by high winds caused by the Atlantic storm.

A statement from Irish police said: "At approximately 7.45am a report was received that a caravan had blown off the cliff at the above location.

"A search was carried out at the scene on the beach and after a short time the body of a female in her 50s was recovered.

"Her body is expected to be removed to University College Galway for a post-mortem examination. The local coroner has been notified."

The RTE broadcaster said the victim was sleeping at the time when strong winds lifted the caravan from the ground.

It said the dwelling was blown onto a stretch of coastline and is not submerged in water.

Irish President Michael D Higgins urged everybody to be cautious when travelling or out in the open.

"I was deeply saddened to learn that storm Ali has already claimed one victim today in Claddagduff, Co Galway.

"As President of Ireland, may I express my deepest condolences to her family.

"I would also take this opportunity to pay tribute to all those, in statutory and voluntary organisations around the country, who are helping and stand ready to assist their fellow citizens, and who are working to maintain essential services around the country."

A total of 55,000 homes and businesses, mainly in the south-west of Ireland, have been left without power due to the bad weather, the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) said.

Forecasters have issued a Status Orange wind warning for more than half the country due to the storm.

ESB Networks, which oversees the power supply, said approximately 55,000 homes, farms and businesses were without power this morning, primarily in the south-west of the country.

"The damage is mainly attributable to fallen trees on overhead lines as a result of the high winds.

"Storm Ali is currently active across the south-west and west coast of the country with gale force winds and gusts of up to 120 km/h per hour.

"The counties most impacted include Cork, Kerry and Limerick, as the storm continues to track north."

Crews have been mobilised and are working towards restoring power to all affected families.

In Northern Ireland, the M1 motorway was closed in both directions just west of Belfast due to fallen cables, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said.

Saintfield Road in Co Down was also closed at the junction of the old Ballynahinch Road due to a fallen tree.

A PSNI statement said: "Motorists are advised to exercise extreme caution in adverse weather conditions. Police are advising motorists to stay in their vehicles."