Hungary deploys tanks to reach snowbound cars on M1 motorway
Hungary has deployed tanks to reach snowbound motorists as cold weather causes transport chaos across Eastern Europe.
T-72 battle tanks trundled along icy roads, while thousands of people waited in cars on the M1 motorway from Budapest to Vienna.
Many had been stuck on the road since Thursday evening.
As Hungary was celebrating its national holiday on Friday many people were travelling when the extreme weather struck.
A series of accidents on the M1 trapped travellers as the snow built up around them.
On Friday afternoon, Hungarian interior ministry sent text messages to all mobile phone subscribers, telling people to stay in their cars as long as their fuel lasted, then move to other vehicles to stay warm.Meteorologists had predicted the cold weather but the sheer number of people trapped in the snow appears to have overwhelmed disaster management services.
Wind gusts of up to 100 km/h (60 mph) and snowdrifts up to 1 m (3 ft) high were reported. The wind is forecast to drop significantly while freezing temperatures will continue.
- Heavy snow paralyzed parts of south-eastern Poland, where police were redirecting heavy lorries for fear they would get stuck
- At least 19,000 households were left without power in eastern Slovakia after high winds damaged the grid and lorries backed up on a road
- Melting snow caused flooding in Kosovo, with reports that a girl of 10 was drowned
- In Bulgaria, a woman was killed when high winds brought down scaffolding in the town of Gabrovo.
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