Storm Franklin: Elderly couple ‘drowned as car sped into English Channel’

An elderly couple drowned in their car off the coast of Normandy on Sunday.

The car was swept into the English Channel as they drove down a low coastal road as Storm Franklin hit northern France.

The couple, believed to be a 70-year-old woman and a 74-year-old man, were unable to escape and were found dead by emergency services, according to a local news site West France mentioned.

Firefighters reportedly received a call from the couple around 9:50 p.m. saying they were stuck on the road to Bricqueville-sur-Mer.

Firefighters stayed in contact with the couple and dispatched nearly 20 vehicles to the scene but struggled to locate the car.

A French civil security helicopter found him around 11:15 p.m. when the tide began to recede. By then, the couple was dead, according to reports.

West France quoted Hervé Bougon, mayor of Bricqueville-sur-Mer, as saying: “With the wind, the car skidded, it would have been pushed to the side sinking into the water.”

The mayor said the road was generally not submersible but the strong winds had “pushed waves onto the road”.

Storm Franklin also hit the UK on Sunday evening, the third named storm in less than a week. Nearly 3,000 homes across Northern Ireland were left without power on Monday morning.

The Met Office warned the storm threatened to inundate the UK on Monday. Many train operators urged passengers not to travel as lines were blocked by fallen trees and flooding.

Several major road bridges were closed on Monday morning, including the M48 Severn Bridge linking England and Wales, and part of the Dartford Crossing between Kent and Essex.

Franklin follows storms Dudley and Eunice, the latter of which brought the strongest winds in over 30 years to the UK and killed three people in Britain and one in Ireland.