Corsica flash flood kills five in French canyoning group

By BBC

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Firefighters searched for the missing woman early on Thursday

(BBC) – A flash flood in a canyon has killed a father, his seven-year-old daughter and three other people on the French island of Corsica.

Rescuers found the body of the fifth victim in the French hiking group – a 22-year-old woman – on Thursday at the remote site near Soccia.

Seven tourists were canyoning with a guide when a wave about 3m (12ft) high hit them, a Corsican prosecutor said. The guide was among those killed.

Two were rescued from the torrent.

French media report that the seven were abseiling (rappelling) into the Zoicu canyon, a famous beauty spot, parts of which are only accessible with ropes.

The canyon is at an altitude of 1,000m (3,280ft) in a mountainous area of central Corsica popular for hiking, kayaking and canyoning, a sport which can involve ropework, technical climbing and swimming.

More on Europe’s summer of extreme weather:

There was a storm alert in place at the time of the flood on Wednesday, and five other hikers, including the seven-year-old’s mother, had turned back earlier.

The French news website Le Point (in French) reports that a guide from another hiking group threw a rope into the torrent to rescue two from the group in trouble.

AFP news agency says it is France’s worst canyoning tragedy since March 2010, when four people died in an accident on the Indian Ocean isle of Reunion.

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