SWEPT AWAY; RSPCA man missing after attempting seabird rescue; Trail of destruction as 96mph Storm Imogen hits.
Byline: richard smith
AN animal rescuer is feared to have been swept out to sea while saving birds as Storm Imogen wreaked havoc across Britain yesterday.
RSPCA inspector Mike Reid, 54, vanished after being called out to help 30 gannets trapped on rocks in Cornwall.
His wife Tracey, 45, raised the alarm after he failed to return home to Redruth.
She said: "It looks like he may have fallen from a cliff and gone into the sea. He had been on a night shift and was helping to rescue some gannets. We are all devastated and feeling numb."
A 10ft garden wall collapsed and seriously injured a boy and girl of five and seven. They were airlifted to hospital from Bretforton, near Evesham, Worcs, as winds hit 96mph in parts of the UK.
Another wall collapse left a pensioner in his 70s with a double leg break and killed his dog in Bognor Regis, West Sussex as Imogen lashed other south coast towns including Brighton and Newhaven, where ferries were cancelled.
Bridgend town centre was evacuated after 81mph winds brought masonry crashing down in South Wales. Around 13,500 homes in the South West and South Wales were left without power.
The M4 motorway was closed at Port Talbot after a lorry was blown over. The M48 Severn Bridge was shut, along with Taw Bridge in Barnstaple, Devon, and the QE2 Bridge east of London. Drivers on the clockwise M25 were diverted into one of the two northbound tunnels.
Arriva Trains Wales, Great Western Railway, the Gat wick Express, South West Trains, Southern and Thameslink services suffered floods, delays and cancellations.
More than 230 flood warnings and alerts were in force as 60ft waves battered the coast.
Winds hit 121mph at Fastnet lighthouse off the south-west tip of Ireland and gusts of 96mph were recorded on the Isle of Wight.
In the North, more than half an inch of rain fell in six hours in Bainbridge, North Yorks. Furness General Hospital in Cumbria has created a command centre to cope with storms - so medics can meet to assess the number of beds.
And the bad weather is here for four weeks, say the Met Office.
RSPCA man Mike Reid vanished cornwall
Ferries were cancelled in high seas newhaven
Trains were hit by floods and delays WALES
Police officer chases hat on the prom HOVE