milan — At least one person was killed and up to 12 missing after heavy rains triggered a massive landslide early Saturday morning on the southern Italian resort island of Ischia, destroying buildings and washing parked cars into the sea. became. The governor of Naples, Claudio Palomba, said at a press conference that the body of a woman had been pulled out of the mud.
As the rain continued, rescuers worked cautiously with a small bulldozer, searching for victims at depths of seven yards. Reinforcements arrived by ferry, including a team of sniffer dogs to assist the search effort.
In the port of Casamicciola, on the northern tip of the island off the coast of Naples, the mud slid down the mountainside before dawn was so strong that cars and buses washed into the beach and sea.
Officials said the island received nearly five inches of rain in six hours, the heaviest rainfall in two decades.
The streets were impassable and the island’s mayor urged people to stay home. At least 100 people were reported stranded without electricity and water, and about 70 were housed in community gymnasiums.
There was some initial confusion about the death toll. Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini initially said eight people had been confirmed dead, followed by the Interior Minister, who said 10 to 12 people were missing, while no deaths had yet been confirmed.
“The situation is very complicated and very serious because some of those people are in the quagmire,” Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi told RAI state television from Rome’s emergency command center. .
The Italian news agency ANSA reported that at least 10 buildings had collapsed. The governor of Naples said one of her family members with a newborn previously reported missing had been found and was being treated.
Video from the island showed residents using hoses to try and push the mud out of their homes while a small bulldozer cleared the road. He told TG24 that the mud overwhelmed three adjacent stores he owned, completely wiping out inventory. He estimated the damages at €100,000 to €150,000 ($104,000 to $156,000).
Firefighters and the Coast Guard were conducting a search and rescue, initially hampered by high winds that prevented helicopters and boats from reaching the island.
The densely populated mountainous island is a popular tourist destination for both its beaches and spas. A magnitude 4.0 earthquake on the island in 2017 killed two people and wreaked havoc on the town of Casamicciola and neighboring Otter Ameno.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/italy-landslide-ischia-deaths-missing-rescue-effort-underway/ One dead, up to 12 missing after landslide on Italian resort island of Ischia