At least eight hikers have died in southern Italy after heavy rain caused flash flooding in a deep mountain gorge. Authorities say it's unclear how many people are still missing.
At least eight people were swept away when raging water tore through the Raganello Gorge in Italy's southern Calabria region on Monday, officials said.
"We have eight dead but we can't rule out the toll increasing," the local civil protection unit told the AFP news agency. All of the victims are believed to be Italian tourists.
Three groups of hikers were said to be in the creek when a heavy downpour caused water levels to rise suddenly.
"The problem is we don't know how many people were knocked over by this flood," the head of civil protection in Calabria, Carlo Tansi, told Sky TG24.
"This is a split in the terrain that is very tight and high. Imagine nearly a kilometer (half a mile) in height. And just a few meters (yards) wide."
Tansi said about a dozen people, including a 10-year-old boy, were brought to safety. Six of the rescued group were injured.
As night fell, a helicopter was helping with the search operation, while rescue workers aided by powerful lights scoured the terrain.
The 12-kilometer- (71/2-mile-) long Raganello Gorge on the eastern side of the Pollino National Park is a popular aquatic trekking area, with trails that take in striking rock formations, waterfalls and clear pools.
nm/rc (AFP, Reuters, AP, dpa)