Helicopters rescue campers in France amid flash floods

Blanche Robertson
August 10, 2018

The man, who is believed to be in his 70s, was helping supervise over 119 German children and youths who were camping in Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas.

The TV channel reported that the missing person was a 70-year-old German man, a monitor at one campsite who was said to have been swept away inside his van.

Hundreds of rescuers backed by helicopters have evacuated around 1,600 people in three regions of southern France where heavy rain caused flash flooding and transformed rivers and streams into torrents.

Collomb, the interior minister, said in a statement that 1,600 people were evacuated as a precaution in the Gard, the Ardeche and the Drome regions.

The mayor of Bagnols, Jean-Yves Chapelet, told BFM-TV many Dutch tourists were among 350 campers evacuated there.

Divers were reported to be taking part in the search for the man, although a top regional official said it was not known for certain whether the man was in his caravan at the time it was swept away.

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'The situation is extremely perilous, ' said a spokesman for the emergency services in the town of Bagnols-sur-Ceze, north of Avignon, where the drama happened.

A total of 10 people in the region were hospitalized for minor injuries due to the flash floods.

'No one has suitcases.

More than 400 firefighters and gendarmes, many sent in from other regions, helped in the evacuations, using helicopters to spot campsites and occasionally to perform rescues.

The flood was sparked when a heatwave ended abruptly this week, which gave way to storms.

Numerous roads in the affected area remained cut off as night fell. Around 17,000 homes in the southwest and northeast were without power.

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