At least 10 people dead in Italian white-water tragedy

At least 10 people have died in flooding caused by heavy rain in the southern Italian region of Calabria.

The tragedy happened on Monday when the level of a raging white-water creek in a deep mountain gorge swelled suddenly after heavy rainfall upstream, officials said.

The civil protection department said 18 people were rescued and six of those were injured in the flash rush of water.

It was not clear how many people were missing because not all had entered the gorge with official guides and registered.


Spotlights were brought to the area so the search could continue during the night.

The nationalities of the dead and injured were not immediately known.

Most tourists and trekkers who visit the area, in the country’s deep south, are Italian.

In some places, the Raganello creek, part of the Pollino National Park, is at the bottom of a narrow, one-kilometre-deep gorge in the mountain.


Rescue teams used ropes to descend the sides of the mountain to reach the site.

Images on national television showed helmeted mountain rescue squads rushing from the nearest town, Civita, to reach the gorge, a popular tourist attraction in summer.

The most seriously injured were taken by helicopter to hospitals in the provincial capital, Cosenza.

The head of civil protection in Calabria, Carlo Tansi said: ‘The problem is we don’t know how many people were knocked over by this flood.

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"This is a split in the terrain that is very tight and high. Imagine nearly a kilometre in height. And just a few metres wide. Imagine people who were in this hole."

Calabria experienced several hours of heavy rain and strong winds earlier on Monday but conditions started to improve in the evening.

The dramatic gorges which were carved by the Raganello river are only recommended for experienced hikers.

This is due to the many challenges posed by the route, which at some points during yhe year is rendered off-limits.

Local authorities strictly limited access to the area and marked certain rocky areas to help rescuers’ efforts to locate hikers in trouble.

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