At least 9 dead as heavy rain hits France, Italy, Greece

International

A man walks on a trestle bridge as high water floods Venice, northern Italy, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019. The high water reached peak of 135cm (4.42ft) early Sunday. (Andrea Merola/ANSA via AP)

PARIS (AP) — At least nine people have died after heavy rain slammed the Riviera coasts of France and Italy, trapping travelers in their cars, and caused flooding in parts of Greece.

Some roads remained closed Monday on the French Riviera, and rivers were still rising in Italy after the weekend flooding.

The administration for France’s Var region said four people died, including a couple in their 70s from the perfume capital of Grasse whose car got submerged. Another died after a French rescue boat sank in the Mediterranean and another was found dead in a car.

In Greece, the bodies of the two men believed to be tourists were recovered late Sunday and early Monday near the port of Antirio, 250 kilometers (155 miles) west of Athens after a sailboat they were using was caught in the severe weather.

Another two women died when storms hit the country’s eastern Aegean Sea islands late Monday, state ERT TV said. The one died when her basement room on Rhodes flooded, while the other drowned on the island of Kos when she went for a swim in stormy seas.

And in northern Italy, a woman was found dead after the Bomida river swept away her car. Rescuers are also searching for possible victims after a landslide caused the collapse of a stretch of an elevated highway near the flooded city of Savona.

Firefighter commander Emanuele Gizzi told SKY TG24 Monday that “we still don’t have the certainty that there is absolutely no one” missing.

Drivers who witnessed the collapse were able to stop in time. There were no reports of witnesses seeing vehicles fall with the roadway, but the search continued as a precaution.

The collapse of the raised highway, just 15 months after a deadly bridge collapse in Genoa, has raised concerns anew about the safety of Italy’s highways, a large part of which are viaducts traversing mountainous terrain.

Meanwhile, the level of the Ticino River in the Lombard city of Pavia was continuing to rise, flooding streets by about 15 centimeters and forcing some residents to evacuate.

In France, rivers started receding slowly but many families who evacuated still couldn’t return home. Authorities worked to restore electricity and clear roads of fallen trees and mud.

In Greece, hundreds of homes were flooded following an overnight storm that affected areas west of Athens.

Torrential rain and mudslides caused the closure of the highway linking the Greek capital to the western port city of Patras.

The worst flooding occurred at the seaside resort of Kineta, where mudslides came from a nearby forest fire-damaged hillside. Several dozen people trapped in their cars and in flooded homes were rescued by the Fire Service.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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