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Storm drops barn roof on B.C. farmer

High winds are blamed for dropping a hay barn’s roof on an elderly farmer in central B.C. while he drove by the building on his ATV.

Alfred King, 84, was riding on an ATV on his farm northwest of Quesnel at about 1:45 p.m. Monday and was caught in a “severe weather incident” with high winds, heavy rain and ice pellets, according to Quesnel RCMP Tuesday.

The winds, RCMP said, “appear to have toppled” the 30-by-20-metre hay barn while King drove the ATV by the structure.

King died of his injuries after he was struck by the roof of the barn, said RCMP, who were called to the scene after 3 p.m., about 25 km northwest of the community.

Quesnel RCMP and the provincial Coroner’s Service are still investigating, RCMP said, including the “exact nature” of the severe weather incident.

A thunderstorm did pass over Quesnel during that time frame, RCMP said.

Environment Canada generally advises people caught outdoors in tornado conditions to seek low-lying areas such as ditches, ravines or culverts where available.

If buildings are nearby, people are advised to seek shelter in a basement, a small ground-floor room such as a bathroom or closet, or the centre of the ground floor.

The department also advises people caught in such conditions to avoid seeking shelter at wide-span buildings such as barns, auditoriums or supermarkets.

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