6 dead in torrential flooding in Spain’s Mallorca island
MADRID - AP
Two of the victims were British nationals, said Antonia Bauza, the deputy mayor of Sant Llorenc, the town hardest hit by the downpours, which is about 60 kilometers (40 miles) east of Mallorca’s capital, Palma.
Bauza told Cadena SER radio that two other victims were local residents, including an elderly woman whose body was found in the basement of her house.
Two more bodies were recovered in the town of S’illot, an emergency services spokeswoman who wasn’t authorized to be named in media reports told The Associated Press.
A dry creek overflowed, creating a strong current of water and mud that buried cars and tore trees along the way, witnesses told Spain’s TVE.
Public broadcaster TVE showed footage of flooded streets and overturned cars along the guardrails of a major road.
"It all happened in less than 10 minutes," an unidentified witness with wet clothes and a blanket over his shoulders told TVE. "We had to swim to try to survive."
Authorities said 80 soldiers and seven vehicles from the military’s emergency unit had joined Wednesday more than 100 rescuers who had been working in the area overnight.
At least three towns closed schools and hundreds of people were sheltered in sport facilities and a local hippodrome, authorities said. The flooding also affected phone communications and forced the closure of at least seven major roads.
Some parts of the island received up to 23 centimeters (nine inches) of rainfall in around four hours on Tuesday evening, national weather authorities reported.
The weather agency, AEMET, said more heavy rainfall is expected Wednesday in eastern and southern parts of the Iberian peninsula.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called news of the flooding "devastating " on Twitter: "My solidarity and support goes out to the families and friends of victims and all the affected by these tragic floods."
Sanchez will be flying to the area later Wednesday, his office said.