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Tornado strikes Venice, narrowly misses center

Dozens of boats overturned, serious crop damage

12 June, 19:39
Tornado strikes Venice, narrowly misses center (ANSA) - Venice, June 12 - A dramatic funnel cloud swept over Venice on Tuesday and narrowly missed the center of town, striking instead the outskirts and uprooting trees and overturning dozens of boats.

Witnesses first reported the dark waterspout approaching from Lido island at the extreme east end of the lagoon before encroaching closer to the historic center.

The twister brought down a wall at the Venezia soccer stadium, damaged the Morosini naval academy and ruined a rowing clubhouse.

At one point a group of 15 students learning to sail took refuge inside a boat warehouse and were subsequently blocked inside by a fallen tree, which firefigthers had to remove.

Paramedics reported only one injury, a boy on the island of Sant'Elena who suffered a non-life-threatening head wound.

More than 300 hectares of agricultural land were destroyed on the nearby island of Sant'Erasmo, causing approximately one million euros in damage, the Italian farmers' association Coldiretti said.

The island is primarily dedicated to agriculture and 80 local companies cultivate fruit and vegetables for approximately 400 families in and around the city of Venice.

Damage from the storm has created "a real disaster that poses a serious threat to this year's production," Coldiretti said.