Flash flooding kills campers in France | News | DW | 18.09.2014
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Flash flooding kills campers in France

Five people have died in raging floodwaters in southern France, after a river burst its banks and engulfed a campsite. Authorities warn storms and heavy rainfall are expected to continue over the next 48 hours.

Homes in Lamalou-les-Bains

Homes in Lamalou-les-Bains inundated by floodwaters

The campers were swept away on Thursday, after heavy rain caused flash flooding at the Lamalou-les-Bains municipal camping ground, authorities said.

It's not known if any people are missing from the site, which is about 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of Montpellier.

Rescue workers said overnight downpours turned the river bordering the campsite into a powerful torrent that inundated several caravans. A pedestrian drowned in the flood, while a man and a woman were found dead in two other mobile homes that were taken by the water.

Lamalou-les-Bains Mayor Philippe Tailland told news agency AFP that as one man was trying to save a woman from drowning, his wife and daughter were swept away in their caravan. The vehicle was later found stuck under a bridge with his wife's body inside.

He is "in a catastrophic state," Tailland said.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve is due to visit the flood-devastated area later on Thursday.

The latest incident comes after a 76-year-old women drowned in the nearby Aveyron region on Wednesday.

The stormy weather is forecast to continue through Friday in the area, where authorities have issued an "orange" flood warning - the second highest alert level after "red."

nm/dr (AFP, dpa)