At least 11 hikers killed in flash floods in southern Italy

At least 11 hikers died and others were missing when the Calabria region was hit by flash floods due to heavy rainfall upstream

Rescuers carry a hiker from Raganello creek (Photo: EPA)
Rescuers carry a hiker from Raganello creek (Photo: EPA)

At least 11 hikers have been killed and others were missing in southern Italy on Monday, after flash floods due to heavy rainfall upstream, officials said.

The hikers were walking in a gorge in a national park in the Calabria region when they were hit by a torrent swollen by heavy rain.

The national civil protection department said 18 people were rescued and six of those were injured. The most seriously injured were taken by helicopter to hospitals in the provincial capital, Cosenza.

A 10-year-old boy was amongst those rescued, the regional head of civil protection told Local officials say the exact number of those unaccounted for is unclear Italian TV. 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.

Carlo Tansi, head of civil protection, told reporters that when the hikers were hit by the water they were "catapulted out like bullets" and were washed down the valley for about 3km (two miles).

"The Raganello Gorge is narrow and tall, it can get up to 1km (3,200ft) high," he said. "The gorge filled up with water in a really short time."

Eugenio Facciolla, chief prosecutor of the provincial capital Cosenza, said rescuers were trying to spot small patches of shore or tiny islands where survivors may have ended up.

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