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article imageWaves Whipped up by Hurricane Bill Claim 2 Lives

By Chris Dade     Aug 24, 2009 in Environment
A 7-year-old girl and 54-year-old man were killed at the weekend by large waves said to have been generated by Hurricane Bill.
The death of the 7-year-old girl, who has not yet been named, occurred at the Acadia National Park in Maine whilst the man, named as Angel Rosa, lost his life at Bethune Beach in Florida's Volusia County.
Whilst standing by Thunder Hole, which AJC reports is a popular spot for tourists due to the large waves crashing in to a crevice and making thunder-like sounds, the young girl, her father and a 12-year-old girl, who was not related to the victim or her father, were swept into the ocean. The wave which swept the three of them into the water also slammed several other people in to the rocks on the shore, resulting in 11 people requiring hospital treatment. Broken bones were amongst the injuries sustained.
Although the Coast Guard were able to rescue the victim's father and the other young girl, who was from Belfast, Maine they were unable to save the life of the 7-year-old, who came from New York. It is assumed that the girl's body has been recovered but reports are not clear in that respect.
CNN reports that there were several thousand people in the park at the time of the incident and the park's Chief Ranger Stuart West said that it was a problem to keep an eye on everybody. When talking about the fatal incident his colleague Sheridan Steele, the Superintendent of the park, remarked :Even though we try to warn people and try to get people to watch from a safe distance, we weren't able to contact everybody in time
The death in Maine on Sunday was preceded by the one in Florida, which happened on Saturday afternoon.
As crowds gathered at Bethune Beach lifeguards warned people not to enter the water. But a group, amongst them Mr Rosa, ignored the warning because, it is believed, they wanted to body surf the waves there were reaching up to 13 feet in height.
When Mr Rosa became separated from the rest of the group rescue teams set out to look for him, but they were too late as a report came through of a man being dragged to shore half-a-mile or so away. Mr Rosa was taken to hospital, where he was eventually declared dead. It is not known as yet if he had suffered some other type of injury before he drowned.
Commenting on the incident Scott Petersohn of the Volusia County Beach Patrol said:It's very unfortunate that this happened and everyone feels terrible about it, but it's not something I'm surprised about. As big as the surf was, as treacherous as it was, it doesn't surprise me
Three other weekend visitors to the beach were treated for injuries they suffered whilst in the water.
Heavy rain and high winds announced Hurricane Bill's arrival in Canada on Sunday night but there have been no reports of major damage or injuries. The hurricane has subsequently moved in to the Atlantic and is now being classed as a tropical storm. It is expected to weaken further as it heads in the direction of Britain.
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