A kitesurfer has died after he was thrown against a seafront restaurant window during a “mini-tornado” on a beach, according to French media.
A strong gust of wind reportedly caused the 31-year-old victim to smash into the building in Villers-sur-Mer, about 10km (six miles) west of Deauville on the Normandy coast.
Five other people were reportedly injured by “projectiles” and taken to hospital as objects were thrown into the air on Saturday evening.
The town hall said around 15 people had to be temporarily relocated.
Video on social media from Villers-sur-Mer showed walkers and beachgoers taking refuge in buildings on the seafront during what was described by the local mayor as a “mini-tornado”.
The strong winds reportedly lasted 20-25 minutes on the Cote Fleurie between Ouistreham and Deauville.
In Deauville, strong winds caused clouds of sand as beachgoers ran for cover.
The extreme weather phenomenon was not predicted by meteorologists who did not expect the winds to be so strong, Francebleu reported.
It was “violence like we have never experienced on our coast”, said the mayor of Villers-sur-Mer, Thierry Granturco.
Street furniture as well as the objects from restaurants flew away “with incredible violence”, he explained.
He said the surfer who died was a Parisian man who had a second home on the Normandy coast, Franceinfo reported.
Mayor Granturco said the victim was “thrown from the water to the wall of a restaurant, where he died”.