Published: Sun, August 12, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

France floods: 1600 evacuated, German missing at campsite

France floods: 1600 evacuated, German missing at campsite

One fireman reported finding adults and children clinging to trees in an effort to escape the floodwater.

Around 160 others, including the group of children from the German city of Leverkusen, were brought to safety.

French divers are searching for a 70-year-old German man who was swept off by a torrent of rushing water at an allegedly illegal site in Saint Julien-de-Peyrolas in Gard, north of Avignon, along with his camper van.

After a hot spell, the flash flooding in the northern part of the Gard region turned the Ceze and L'Ardeche rivers into churning waterways that quickly spilled out of their banks.

Ten people were taken to hospital suffering from hypothermia and minor injuries, said regional police spokesman Jerome Tallaron.

A top Gard official, Thierry Dousset, told BFM-TV about 750 people were evacuated from five campsites.

A search was underway for him.

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A French prosecutor says that two Germans detained after 119 children were evacuated from their flooded campsite in southern are being sent before an investigative judge for possible charges of involuntary injury by endangering others.

More than 400 firefighters and police were deployed to Gard, Ardèche and Drôme, which were hit hardest by the flooding and rain. The mayor of Bagnols, Jean-Yves Chapelet, told BFMTV that a large number of Dutch tourists were among the 350 campers evacuated.

Helicopters were used to spot campsites and occasionally to perform rescues.

The weather in the southeast of France has improved this morning but authorities are urging people to stay vigilant as the flooding are receding. About 17,000 homes in the southwest and northeast were without power.

Nearly 75mm of rain fell over the area in just 24 hours with more outbreaks possible during the next few days.

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