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Motorway section collapses in Italy following heavy rainfall

Two people in France were also killed after historic levels of rain fell in the south of the country.

A 100ft section of road along a viaduct near the flooded Italian coastal city of Savona collapsed on Sunday
A 100ft section of road along a viaduct near the flooded Italian coastal city of Savona collapsed on Sunday
Image: PA Images

Updated Nov 24th 2019, 6:42 PM

A SECTION OF motorway has collapsed near the Italian city of Savona following a mudslide triggered by heavy rain in the region.

The viaduct serving the A6 motorway between Turin and France was washed away on Sunday, leaving a 30-metre gap in the road.

Although emergency services did not immediately find any victims at the site, sniffer dogs and helicopters were checking the area to make sure.

Images of the damage brought back memories of the 2018 collapse of the Morandi bridge at Genoa, only 50km away, which claimed 43 lives.

In the Piedmont region, a 52-year-old woman was missing after her car was swept away when a river burst its banks.

Local media reported that two other people in the car managed to get out of the car in time.

The worst hit region in Italy was Alessandria, south of Turin, where 200 people were evacuated and 600 left isolated. One woman was reported missing, Italian media said.

Another 500 people were evacuated further north in the Aosta Valley, where roads were closed because of the risk of avalanches.

Venice was once again hit by the floods that have paralysed the city this month, even if the levels were well off the historic peak reached on 12 November.

The waters that flooded the iconic St Mark’s Square in the city centre were at knee-height, and were beginning to recede by the afternoon.

Deaths in France

In France, two people were killed and at least one more is missing after historic rain levels drenched the south of the country, causing major floods that are only starting to recede.

The high floodwaters buried cars underwater, turned roads into rivers and even allowed kayakers the chance to paddle down a highway.

One body was found in the village of Le Muy, just north of France’s Mediterranean coast, close to where a rescue dinghy had capsized on Saturday evening.

Three members of the fire brigade and three civilians were on board, local authorities in the southern Var region said.

One of the civilians had been reported missing.

The second body, of a man in his 50s, was found in the village of Cabasse in a car, said the local authorities, without giving further details.

Meanwhile, another man in his 70s was still missing in the village of Saint-Antonin-du-Var after going out during the night amid heavy rain. Searches are continuing.

The Alpes-Maritimes and Var regions have been hit by torrential rainstorms that also caused huge waves in seaside areas since Friday.

A 39-year-old woman was badly injured on Saturday and hospitalised after being swept away by a wave, the fire service said.

The town of Roquebrune-sur-Argens in the Var region was particularly badly affected and only accessible by boat or helicopter, local authorities said.

Some 4,500 households have been left without electricity throughout the Var and Alpes-Maritimes regions.

A senior official for the Var region, Jean-Luc Videlaine, told AFP that the rains had been of “historic” intensity, adding that the damage will be “considerable”.

He said that water levels were now going down but added that the situation was “far from returning to normal”.

In some areas of the Var region, the equivalent of two or three months of rain fell in just 24 or 48 hours.

- © AFP 2019

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