Rescue teams are extricating victims from the flash floods in the Pollino National Park in Southern Italy. Screen dump from Euro News video.
21 Aug 2018

At least 11 dead in Italian flash flood - people were thrown three kilometers down the ravine

At least eleven hikers have died and many more are missing in Italy after flash floods in a national park in the southern part of the country, reports Italian media.

"People were thrown out like bullets," said Carlo Tansi, head of the Civil Protection Department in Calabria.

During Monday, a heavy storm raided the Pollino National Park in southern Italy.

The rainy rain formed a flash flood through a mountain ravine in the popular hiking area, and some of the bodies were thrown up to three kilometers (2 miles) down the water´s path from the ravine.


A firefighter in the gorge where the flsh flood happened.


"A monster of water"

The flood was described as "a monster of water" by the newspaper La Stampa.

The rescue service fears that the numbers of casualties will rise as it is unclear exactly how many people were hiking in the ravine during the flood.

23 people were rescued during Monday, reports La Repubblica, and now the emergency services are seek for more survivors.


The gorge were the flash flood happened.


People were thrown 3 kilometers down the ravine

The most seriously injured people were taken to hospital  by ambulance helicopter.

"This ravine was filled with water in a very short time and these people were thrown out like bullets. They ended up three kilometers further down the water´s path, "said Carlo Tansi, head of the Civil Protection Department in Calabria.


Graphic over  the Raganello gorge.


The BBC created this graphic over the Raganello gorge, describing how the incident happened.


"This is very difficult terrain, full of obstacles due to the area's topography," said prosecutor Eugenio Facciolla, according to the news agency TT.

Most of the dead are believed to be Italian tourists, although one may be form he Netherlands.

The Raganello Gorge is narrow and tall, it can get up to 1km (3,200ft) high.

Powerful floodlights were brought in to allow rescuers to work through the night, authorities said.

"A real avalanche of water came unexpectedly. We did not have time to do anything," a Dutch hiker was quoted by local media as saying. "I was lucky, it was an incredible thing."

The dramatic gorges carved by the Raganello river are only recommended for experienced hikers, and at certain times of the year, they are off-limits for all visitors, the AGI news agency reported. 


Photo below shows a general view of Mount Pollino. Photo: Wikipedia Commons

Monte Pollino