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Flood of tears.

(Mon-Fri, ITV, 12.55pm and 6pm)

Tragedy and joy, death and devastation - they smack more of Hollywood films than Aussie soaps.

But as a killer flood hits Summer Bay next week, Home And Away serves up enough excitement to challenge any disaster epic.

One of the show's favourite characters is swept to his death in the mayhem.

But there is finally some happiness for tragic teenager Angel, who gives birth after going into labour ten weeks early.

The drama starts to mount as the Bay becomes completely cut off.

Michael (Dennis Coard) sets off to pick up his foster child, Sam, who is stranded by the floods at a nearby town. But their route home is cut off when a bridge is destroyed.

Sam is swept away in the flood. Michael saves him but is carried away himself, despite a brave rescue attempt by his other foster child, Jack.

The sudden departure was almost as much of a shock for Dennis, 44, who has played Michael for five and a half years.

"I was under contract for a bit longer so it was quite a surprise to find I was going to be killed off," he says.

"But I'm pleased to be leaving in a blaze of glory."

Back in Summer Bay, Angel (Melissa George) - whose young husband died - goes into labour.

Alex and Shannon battle to drive her to hospital but they become stranded.

Melissa says: "Angel is saved by a mystery motorbike rider who leads the car to safety.

"She is convinced it's the ghost of her husband Shane."

The baby is safely delivered at the Ross household and mother and baby - named Shane after her dad - are taken to hospital.

Says a Home And Away insider: " Everyone is grateful that at least there's a little bit of good news in what has been a terrible week in Summer Bay."

DISASTER DIGEST

EMMERDALE: In 1993, a plane exploded over Beckindale, causing widespread carnage. Four people were killed and others, like Chris Tate, were left permanently crippled.

CORONATION STREET: In 1967, a train plunged from the viaduct into the street. Ena Sharples was dragged out of the wreckage by David Barlow. Teenager Sonia Peters was killed instantly. Deirdre Barlow's daughter Tracy, parked in a pram, had a miraculous escape in 1979 when a lorry crashed into The Rovers Return, destroying much of the pub.

BROOKSIDE: Religious nut Simon Howe blew up No. 5 Brookside Close with a home-made bomb, two years ago. He later committed suicide.

NEIGHBOURS: A gas explosion at The Waterhole in May 1994 left Stephen Gottlieb in a wheelchair.

EASTENDERS: Fire wrecked The Queen Vic in October 1992, when Grant tried to work an insurance fiddle. He didn't realise that his wife, Sharon, and Roly, the dog, were trapped upstairs.
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Malins, Sue
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 13, 1996
Words:464
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