ANTIBES, France (AP) — Sudden heavy rains around the French Riviera have killed at least 10 people, including some trapped in cars, a campsite and a retirement home, and left six missing. Car and train traffic was disrupted along the Mediterranean coast.
Helicopters patrolled the region to look for other flood victims and 27,000 homes were without electricity Sunday, after the Brague River overflowed its banks and fierce thunderstorms poured more than 17 centimeters (6.7 inches) of rain on the Cannes region in two hours Saturday night. That is the equivalent of two months of rainfall for the region, local radio France Bleu-Azur reported.
President Francois Hollande and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve were heading to the retirement home Sunday morning, according to the Interior Ministry. Hollande said in a statement that people were found dead in the towns of Cannes, Biot, Golfe-Juan and Mandelieu-la-Napoule in the southeast, not far from Italy.
The Interior Ministry said in a statement that at least 10 people were dead and six missing, saying there was “little hope to find them alive.” Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet earlier said the death toll had reached 13, including some victims who had been trapped in a parking lot, and others at a campsite and a retirement home. The reason for the lowered death toll and the exact circumstances of the deaths weren’t immediately clear.
Several trains were stopped because of flooded tracks, and traffic remained stopped along the Mediterranean coast between Nice and Toulon on Sunday morning, according to the SNCF rail authority. Several roads in the region were closed, including those reaching Cannes, which was particularly hard hit.
Winds and rain whipped palm trees along the famed Croisette seaside promenade in Cannes in images shown on BFM television. In nearby Antibes, cars were overturned and roads were slick with mud. The flooding also disrupted a French league soccer match in Nice, forcing the stadium to shut down in the middle of play.
Hundreds of emergency workers were involved in rescue efforts.