Italy: 1 dead, several missing after Ischia landslide
Rome, Nov 27: Heavy rains triggered landslides on the Italian island of Ischia on Saturday, with destructive waves of mud sliding down a hill in the small town of Casamicciola Terme and killing at least one person in the early hours of the morning.
The landslide engulfed at least one house and swept cars down to the sea, emergency services said. The Ischia fire service said that at least one house had been buried under the mud and that two people were rescued from a car swept into the sea.
What we know so far
At least one person has been found dead and up to 12 people are still missing on the island, which lies off the coast of Naples.
Naples prefect Claudio Palomba announced the toll in a press conference later on Saturday, saying that the body of a woman was pulled from the mud.
Rescue crews are continuing their search for victims and survivors, using small bulldozers to sift through the thick mud. Two people were rescued from a car that was swept out to sea.
Additional emergency crews arrived by ferry later on Saturday, including teams of sniffer dogs.
Officials on the island urged residents to stay at home, as many streets were impassible.
Rain hampering rescue efforts
The landslides were triggered by intense rains that were the heaviest the island of Ischia had seen in 20 years. Within six hours, the island received 126 milimeters (nearly five inches) of rain.
The heavy rains continued throughout Saturday, making rescue efforts difficult and delaying the arrival of rescue reinforcements.
There had been initial confusion over the number of people missing and killed, with officials giving conflicting statements earlier in the day.
Infrastructure Minister Matteo Salvini had told Italian media outlets Saturday morning that at least eight people were killed in the landslide. However, shortly thereafter, Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi told reporters that there were no confirmed deaths.
As rescue efforts continued later in the day, at least one fatality was confirmed.
A family of three — mother, father and a newborn baby — who had been feared missing were later found and were safe.