Wild windstorm kills 3, taints water in Melbourne, Australia

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — A wild storm that hit Australia’s second-largest city knocked out power to 56,000 homes, contaminated the water supply and felled trees that killed three people, authorities said Friday.

A 4-year-old boy was struck by a tree Thursday evening and died later in hospital, police said, as Melbourne was lashed by wind speeds up to 158 kph (98 mph).

A 59-year-old man was killed when a falling tree crushed the car he was driving. And another tree truck a pickup truck on a highway, killing a 36-year-old woman passenger. The 24-year-old male driver was taken to hospital with minor injuries, officials said.

Around 56,000 homes lost power, Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said. Power was expected to be restored to all by Friday afternoon.

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The power failure caused disruptions at a water purification plant. Residents in 88 of Melbourne’s 523 suburbs were advised to boil their drinking water until further notice.

Melbourne is Australia’s coronavirus hot spot and is under lockdown for six weeks.

Andrews said restrictions would be relaxed so that residents could respond to the storm’s aftermath.

“We know and understand this is unique and we don’t want those coronavirus rules to make it any harder, but we just have to find that balance point and I am confident that we can,” Andrews said.

Emergency services received more than 1,700 calls for help.

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