Tue | Jun 2, 2020

Flash flood hits hikers in gorge in southern Italy; 8 dead

Published:Monday | August 20, 2018 | 12:00 AM


Heavy rain flooded a gorge filled with hikers on Monday in the southern region of Calabria, killing at least eight, Italy's civil protection agency said. At least another five were missing.

The prefect's office said 23 people were rescued from the flash flood in the Raganello Gorge. They included a 10-year-old boy treated for hypothermia, who was among seven that the civil protection agency said were hospitalised.

It was unclear how many people were missing, but there were at least 36 hikers in two organised groups inside the 12-kilometre- (seven and a half-mile-) long gorge, a popular aquatic trekking spot. TV images show rescuers scaling down the side of a steep rock face to bring hikers to safety.

Guides are not required, making it impossible to know how many people were on their own inside the canyon.

"The problem is we don't know how many people were knocked over by this flood," Carlo Tansi, the head of civil protection in Calabria, told Sky TG24. "This is a split in the terrain that is very tight and high."

At its most narrow point, it is just metres (yards) wide and with walls varying from 400 metres (1,300 feet) to 700 metres (2,300 feet) in height.

Luca Franzese, of the alpine rescue squad in Calabria, said the height of the flood waters was some two and a half metres (eight feet) deep.