Eleven killed as ‘avalanche of water’ hits Italy’s Raganello Gorge

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Six women and five men have died after floods hit the Raganello Gorge in southern Italy.

The civil protection department said 23 people had been rescued after 8ft (2.43m) of water filled the gorge following heavy rain.

Tourists can visit without a guide, making it difficult to know exactly how many people were in the canyon when the floods hit.

“This gorge filled up with water in a really short space of time and these people were catapulted out like bullets,” said Carlo Tansi, head of the civil protection department in Calabria.

Rescue teams stand by to enter the Raganello Gorge after 11 were killed in flash flooding  Eleven killed as ‘avalanche of water’ hits Italy’s Raganello Gorge skynews calabria raganello 4396468
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Rescue teams have been working at the scene
Rescuers and citizens await news at the central square in Civita, Calabria after flash floods killed 11  Eleven killed as ‘avalanche of water’ hits Italy’s Raganello Gorge skynews flood raganello gorge 4396464
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People gathered in Civita town square as the rescue operation took place

“They ended up some three kilometres (two miles) down the valley.”

A Dutch hiker, quoted in local media, added: “A real avalanche of water came unexpectedly. We did not have time to do anything. I was lucky, it was an incredible thing.”

The level of flooding – which came after heavy rain – is unusual for the season.

Lucas Frazsese, from the alpine rescue team, said: “The wave of flooding of the Raganello stream happens often in the winter, but it has never happened in the summer, when the stream is very popular among tourists.”

Raganello Gorge is very narrow and high, making flooding especially likely and extra dangerous.

Rescue teams get ready to search for survivors after flooding in the Raganello Gorge, Calabria.  Eleven killed as ‘avalanche of water’ hits Italy’s Raganello Gorge skynews calabria raganello 4396467
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The search went on through the night

At its narrowest, it is just a couple of metres wide with walls 400m (1300ft) to 700m (2,300ft) high.

Raganello Gorge is located on the eastern side of the Pollino National Park and boasts picturesque hikes past water falls, water tubs and natural slipways.

The flooding at the gorge comes as Kerala in India experiences its worst flooding in a century, which has displaced almost a million people.



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