Irene toll rises to 18 in US: officials

Irene toll rises to 18 in US: officials

Six deaths have been recorded in North Carolina, where Irene made landfall early Saturday morning with 85-mile (140-kilometre) per hour winds, before heading up the eastern seaboard and scoring a rare hit on New York.

Four more deaths were recorded in Pennsylvania, including two men, one in a tent and another in a camper who were crushed by falling trees.

The toll rose from eight overnight with new fatalities including men hit by falling trees in North Carolina and Virginia, a woman in Maryland struck by a falling chimney, as well as one victim in New Jersey.

The breakdown of fatalities was: six in North Carolina, four in Virginia, four in Pennsylvania, one in New Jersey, and one each in Connecticut, Florida in Maryland.

The youngest fatalities were a boy killed by a falling tree in his apartment in Newport News, a city on a coastal peninsula in Virginia, and a girl who died in North Carolina.

"A 15-year-old girl was killed in a car accident on her way back from the beach after vacationing in North Carolina," explained emergency official Patty McQuillan.

"The traffic light at the intersection was not working, the power was out."

North Carolina emergency management spokesman Brad Deen said one of the six victims in his state was a man who had a heart attack on Friday while nailing plywood over his windows in preparation for the hurricane.

Two people were also killed in the state in separate driving accidents. Another North Carolina fatality was a man struck by a falling tree limb while outside feeding his animals

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