A FATHER and daughter were among three people killed when a 60ft tree fell on their car early yesterday, bringing the death toll caused by the Christmas storms to six.

Mr Gerald Ross, in his fifties, his daughter Ruth and her boyfriend David White, both in their twenties, died when the tree crashed onto their Ford Fiesta in the Welsh village of Pengam, near Blackwood, Gwent, just after midnight.

It is understood Mr Ross had gone to collect his daughter, her boyfriend, and two friends from a local club when the tree fell on their car as it returned to the village of Gelligaer where they lived.

Survivor Michael Lewis, who was in the back seat with his girlfriend Alma Jones, was later released from hospital after suffering face and neck injuries. He was too upset to talk about the tragedy. Miss Jones, whose arm was crushed by the falling tree, was kept in hospital.

Eyewitnesses told how they heard the sound of ''crunching metal'' as the tree smashed down on the car. Ms Enid Rawlings, whose cottage overlooks the sharp bend where the accident happened, said: ''I was watching television when I heard a loud noise from outside. It sounded like the noise a car makes when it is put into a crusher.

''I didn't know what had happened, but that road is a bit of an accident blackspot. It's just dreadful, especially because it happened over Christmas. Those poor families must be absolutely devastated.''

Ms Carey Wake, who also lives nearby, said she had been worried about the condition of the line of trees alongside the road for months: ''I walk past those trees on my way to work and when it is windy you can hear them creaking.''

Caerphilly Borough Council was investigating the incident as workmen cleared the splintered remains of the tree and checked the safety of others along the verge.

The latest deaths followed three separate fatal road accidents over the holiday period, involving a 32-year-old woman from Stoke-on-Trent, a woman from Liverpool and a 19-year-old man in the Irish Republic.

The search for a French fishing trawler missing off the west Wales coast since Christmas Eve resumed yesterday following the possible sighting of a liferaft floating upside down late on Christmas Day.

A Nimrod maritime reconnaissance aircraft and nine French fishing vessels joined the search for the five-man crew of the 30-year-old Brittany-based Toul an Trez, which went missing in huge seas 30 miles west of St David's Head. Wreckage was found floating in nearby waters on Christmas Day and hopes of finding the crew alive are fading.

Meanwhile, thousands of people in the North of England, Wales and Northern Ireland were facing a second day without electricity, as power workers tried to restore supplies interrupted by high winds and torrential rain.

In Scotland, engineers restored power to the remaining 19 homes in Dumfries and Galloway left without electricity over Christmas.

Weathermen at the Met Office in Glasgow said that winds had abated considerably all over the UK. A spokesman added: ''By the weekend, it will be cold with showers over Scotland and the North-west. The winds may pick up slightly, but will be nothing like we have experienced over the last couple of days.''

Many householders have had to cope with blown off roofs and rain damage. Insurance companies advised customers to phone their emergency numbers as many insurers will be closed until next week.

A spokesman for the Association of British Insurers said: ''The best thing to do is to shore up the damage - get some emergency repairs done and then next week contact the insurance company.''