at least 10 hikers dead, 23 rescued. Three misses

A sudden and devastating flood that brought death and despair. So survivors and saviors tell us what happened this afternoon in the gorges Raganello to Civita, in Pollino, in the province of Cosenza. At this moment, 10 dead people have been identified for the expansion of the watercourse which runs along the deep gorge and which has led the bodies downstream even 3 kilometers. For many hours uncertain the number of missing, including there is fear of the presence of children, in the evening came the prefecture of Cosenza to give an official figure: three.

As soon as the alarm was activated at the scene of the disaster, men and means of civil protection, firefighters, the Alpine rescue of the Pollino, the carabinieri forest, guardian of finance. The inhabited center was cited by a cordon. And the waiting has begun. Some of the hikers surprised by the rapids of the river managed to save themselves on some boulders and were gradually restored. Among the 23, two children also recovered in hypothermia and were then taken to the hospital of Cosenza with the eliambulanza. Fear and concern on the square of the small arbereshe municipality in the heart of Pollino in front of the company headquarters Raganello tour who had organized an excursion for 15 people. But in the same hours in the gap there was also a group of 18 people who had not used the guides. And this despite the civil protection had issued a warning bulletin.

Shrieking screams of pain alternate with direct TV and ambulances and emergency vehicles in the square of Civita, transformed in the last hours at the site of pain for the dead in the tragedy of the Raganello. Backed by some people, a woman, the wife of one of the victims, called her own pain after recognizing her husband's body. Among the hundreds of people who are still present to witness the pain and condolences for what has happened, fragments of stories about heroism and solidarity are collected.

But the sudden flooding has probably overwhelmed tourists who are not linked to the walk that the stream reaches to bathe in the lower and more accessible ponds: there is no lack of carelessness, without the equipment, expertise and assistance of the guides just to go the gap. There are even people who, under these circumstances, also expose their young children to the risk.

The research of those who still miss the call continues throughout the night. Two lighthouses have arrived which will illuminate the area of ​​the Ponte del Diavolo, one of the most popular destinations for hikers, the theater of this absurd accident. "There are about seventy, the head of civil protection of the Calabria region, Carlo Tansi, the units that are engaged in exploring the area affected by this enormous tragedy, the real unknown factor – he added – is the number of missing persons that is not fully understood at the moment, what is known is that the gorges have become saturated by the abundant water and have thrown away the victims even three kilometers away ».

"We are worried that the number of victims – said Castro officer Eugenio Facciolla who attended a meeting with Coc at Civita – is destined to grow, but it is an assessment we do based on what has happened. that there are more people in the area because the area is very busy during this period, we call on everyone's cooperation. »Civil protection in Calabria has provided its own protection toll-free number 88222211 to report missing. As soon as the alarm was activated at the scene of the disaster, men and vehicles from the Civil Protection, firefighters, the Alpine rescue of the Pollino, the Carabinieri forest, guardian of finance. The inhabited center was cited by a cordon. And the waiting has begun.

"The tidal waves in the Raganello stream are often in winter, but it never happened in summer, when the current is very popular with tourists," explains Luca Franzese, head of the Alpine Rescue in Calabria. Today, however, the savior says, the tidal wave came suddenly and reached the level of the current "two meters, two and a half meters." And – Franzese remembers – it was impossible to notice because in that piece it did not even rain. " Terrible images presented to rescuers Two girls, perhaps clocks, were the first to be brought to safety, they had torn clothes and were in shock, even the baby in hypothermia was rescued and taken to the hospital The mayor of Civita Coc convened in the municipality, the night is still long.

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