Search called off in Italy gorge flood that killed 10

At least 8 hikers killed by flash flooding in Southern Italy

Flash flood hits hikers in gorge in southern Italy; 8 dead

Firefighters and emergency workers on Tuesday combed the creek bed downstream from a gorge where sudden heavy rain created a wall of water that swept away tourists on Monday in the southern Italy region of Calabria, killing at least 10 people.

"We have eight dead but we can't rule out the toll increasing", the local civil protection unit told AFP.

Eleven people were injured in the flash floods, out of whom those with serious injuries were admitted to hospitals in Cosenza and the rest in the city of Castrovillari, officials said. Most tourists and trekkers who visit the area, in the country's deep south, are Italian.

A Dutch hiker, quoted in local media, added: "A real avalanche of water came unexpectedly".

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It was unclear how many people were missing but there were at least 36 hikers in two organized groups inside the 7 ½-mile-long gorge, a popular aquatic trekking spot.

"The problem is we don't know how many people were knocked over by this flood", Tansi said.

But precautionary searches were continuing for people possibly still there since the gorge is open to the general public and visitors are not required to register.

On Monday, this part of Calabria experienced several hours of heavy rain and strong winds although conditions began to improve during the evening.

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Raganello Gorge is very narrow and high, making flooding especially likely and extra unsafe. They ended up some 3km down the valley", said Carlo Tansi, head of the civil protection department in Calabria.

The nationalities of those who have died and were injured weren't known immediately, but some people caught up in the devastation have spoken to local reporters. They recounted a terrifying situation, ' he said.

Raganello Gorge is located on the eastern side of the Pollino National Park and boasts picturesque hikes past water falls, water tubs and natural slipways.

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