Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

'Avalanche of Water' Kills 10 Italian Hikers in Narrow Gorge

Climate
Rescuers continue their search for possible survivors of deadly flash flooding in the Raganello river, a popular hiking spot in Civita, in the Calabria region's Pollino national park, on Aug. 21. KONTROLAB / AFP / Getty Images

Ten people were killed and 11 injured in a flash flood that filled a gorge in Italy's Pollino National Park following heavy rains on Monday, The Associated Press reported.

The victims were from two groups of hikers in the Raganello Gorge, which filled with up to 2.5 meters (approximately 8.2 feet) of water, mud and rocks that pushed some bodies as far as 8 kilometers (approximately 5 miles) downstream, BBC News reported.


"A real avalanche of water came unexpectedly. We did not have time to do anything. I was lucky, it was an incredible thing," a Dutch hiker told local media, according to The Guardian.

In total, 23 people were rescued, including four children who had lost one or both of their parents, The Associated Press reported. Some Dutch hikers were among the survivors, but Italian media reports said all the dead were Italian.

"Italy is tired of crying for the dead. Enough," environment minister Sergio Costa said, according to The Associated Press. "If what happened is the result of negligence, sloppiness or a lack of awareness of the risks, we are facing a serious situation that we need to get to the bottom of."

Italian prosecutors opened a criminal investigation into the deaths. The government has also asked for a separate administrative proceeding to see if any negligence caused the deaths.

Investigations will focus on whether weather warnings were issued correctly and whether access to the gorge should have been limited or cut off.

While meteorologists said heavy rains were common in the region during this time of year, rescue workers and park officials said flooding like this hadn't been seen in decades.

"Without a doubt, the event was of a weight we have not seen for many years. We are talking about at least ninety years ago," Pollino National Park President Domenico Pappaterra told Sky TG24, according to The Associated Press.

Pasquale Gagliardi, medical director of the regional helicopter service that airlifted survivors to local hospitals, agreed that it was "unprecedented."

"I've been flying for over 20 years and I can say I'm a veteran. I've helped hundreds of people in difficult situations, but I had never had a misfortune of this size," he told a local newspaper, as BBC News reported.

Costa said rescue workers were "99.9 percent sure" that everyone was accounted for, but that the search was continuing because there is no record of who entered the gorge.

Pappaterra said the national park's guide does not direct hikers through the upper part of the gorge and that only experienced hikers should attempt it, according to The Associated Press.

Some victims were found without proper gear and clothing, according to local media stories reported by BBC News.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

An aerial view of a crude oil storage facility of Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) in the Krasnodar Territory. Vitaly Timkiv / TASS / Getty Images

Oil rigs around the world keep pulling crude oil out of the ground, but the global pandemic has sent shockwaves into the market. The supply is up, but demand has plummeted now that industry has ground to a halt, highways are empty, and airplanes are parked in hangars.

Read More Show Less
Examples (from left) of a lead pipe, a corroded steel pipe and a lead pipe treated with protective orthophosphate. U.S. EPA Region 5

Under an agreement negotiated by community groups — represented by NRDC and the Pennsylvania Utility Law Project — the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) will remove thousands of lead water pipes by 2026 in order to address the chronically high lead levels in the city's drinking water and protect residents' health.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
ROBYN BECK / AFP / Getty Images

By Dave Cooke

So, they finally went and did it — the Trump administration just finalized a rule to undo requirements on manufacturers to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new passenger cars and trucks. Even with the economy at the brink of a recession, they went forward with a policy they know is bad for consumers — their own analysis shows that American drivers are going to spend hundreds of dollars more in fuel as a result of this stupid policy — but they went ahead and did it anyway.

Read More Show Less

By Richard Connor

A blood test that screens for more than 50 types of cancer could help doctors treat patients at an earlier stage than previously possible, a new study shows. The method was used to screen for more than 50 types of cancer — including particularly deadly variants such as pancreatic, ovarian, bowel and brain.

Read More Show Less
Ian Sane / Flickr

Preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control showed a larger number of young people coming down with COVID-19 than first expected, with patients under the age of 45 comprising more than a third of all cases, and one in five of those patients requiring hospitalization. That also tends to be the group most likely to use e-cigarettes.

Read More Show Less