Eight killed as flash flood hits hikers in Italian gorge

Rescuers work at the Raganello Gorge in Civita, Italy, Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. (Francesco Capitaneo/ANSA via AP)
Rescuers work at the Raganello Gorge in Civita, Italy, Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. (Francesco Capitaneo/ANSA via AP)

Heavy rain has flooded a gorge filled with hikers in the southern Italian region of Calabria, killing at least eight people, the civil protection agency said.

Officials said the dead included four men and four women.

The head of civil protection in Calabria, Carlo Tansi, told Sky TG24 that 12 other people, including a 10-year-old boy, were taken to safety after the flash flood in the Raganello Gorge, a popular hiking spot.

The boy was among six people who were injured, the agency said.

It was unclear how many people were missing but at least three groups of hikers were said to be in the gorge.

Mr Tansi said: “The problem is we don’t know how many people were knocked over by this flood.

“This is a split in the terrain that is very tight and high. Imagine nearly a kilometre in height. And just a few metres wide. Imagine people who were in this hole.”

He said it would take hours to know the toll.

The gorge on the eastern side of the Pollino National Park hosts aquatic trekking along the stream that cuts through the rock, where hikers pass waterfalls and natural slipways.

The seven-mile gorge is broken into three sections, the upper, mid and lower canyons, with hikes averaging between two and a half and three and a half hours.

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