Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

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

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

Valley of the Gods in the heart of Bears Ears National Monument. Mint Images / Getty Images

By Sharon Buccino

This week, Secretary Haaland chose a visit to Bears Ears National Monument as her first trip as Interior Secretary. She is spending three days in Bluff, Utah, a small town just outside the monument, listening to representatives of the five tribes who first proposed its designation to President Obama in 2015. This is the same town where former Secretary Sally Jewell spent several hours at a public hearing in July 2016 before recommending the monument's designation to President Obama.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Pexels

By Anthony Richardson, Chhaya Chaudhary, David Schoeman, and Mark John Costello

The tropical water at the equator is renowned for having the richest diversity of marine life on Earth, with vibrant coral reefs and large aggregations of tunas, sea turtles, manta rays and whale sharks. The number of marine species naturally tapers off as you head towards the poles.

Read More Show Less
Trending
"Secrets of the Whales" is a new series that will start streaming on Disney+ on Earth Day. Disney+

In celebration of Earth Day, a star-studded cast is giving fans a rare glimpse into the secret lives of some of the planet's most majestic animals: whales. In "Secrets of the Whales," a four-part documentary series by renowned National Geographic Photographer and Explorer Brian Skerry and Executive Producer James Cameron, viewers plunge deep into the lives and worlds of five different whale species.

Read More Show Less
Spring is an excellent time to begin bird watching in earnest. Eugenio Marongiu / Cultura / Getty Images

The coronavirus has isolated many of us in our homes this year. We've been forced to slow down a little, maybe looking out our windows, becoming more in tune with the rhythms of our yards. Perhaps we've begun to notice more, like the birds hopping around in the bushes out back, wondering (maybe for the first time) what they are.

Read More Show Less
The brown pelican is seen on Queen Bess Island in Louisiana in March 2021. Casey Wright / LDWF biologist

Who says you can't go home again?

Read More Show Less