|Five people died when storms turned a peaceful river that bordered their camping site in southern France into a raging torrent that swept them away. The site in Lamalou-les-Bains was devastated by the flood overnight.
Storms had already killed an elderly lady in the nearby region of Aveyron and also left a person missing in another neighbouring department.
A man and a woman were found dead in two different caravans in Lamalou-les-Bains. Local authorities said a person who was walking in the site was swept away by a wave more than two metres high.
Rescue workers found two other bodies this morning but were unable to determine whether they were those of two people still missing.
In one particularly tragic story, a man who was trying to save a woman from drowning saw his own wife and daughter swept away in their caravan, the town’s mayor said. “The father, who was around 60, went out and saw a woman who was going to drown,” Philippe Tailland said.
He held her by the hand but unfortunately he had to let go of this woman. “When he turned around, he saw his caravan being swept away with his wife and 34-year-old daughter inside.”
The caravan was later found stuck under a bridge and the body of his wife was inside. His daughter is still missing. He is “in a catastrophic state,” Mr Tailland said.
The scene in Lamalou-les-Bains is one of devastation, with thick mud and fallen trees covering roads. Cars and other vehicles are lying upside down while firemen and local residents are pumping water out of houses nearby.
The weather calmed down this morning, but France’s meteorological centre warned the area was still under orange alert. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve is due to visit Lamalou-les-Bains in the coming hours.