ROME—One person has died and more than ten people are missing and feared dead, including an infant, in colossal landslides on the picturesque island of Ischia off the coast of Naples, Italy.
Eight people were rescued from the mud in the early hours of Saturday morning after torrential rains devastated the island. Continued bad weather has also hampered rescue efforts and civil protection authorities have not ruled out that more people could be unaccounted for since many islanders also have homes on the mainland.
“Currently the confirmed death toll is one, a woman,” Naples prefect Claudio Palomba told reporters Saturday. “Eight missing persons have been found, including a child, and there still are around 10 missing.”
Italy’s Transport Minister Matteo Salvini said eight people had died, but the country’s civil protection agency walked back that number, saying no bodies had yet been recovered. At least 13 people are missing, including a baby.
Italy’s fire brigade tweeted photos of the disaster, which left buses, cars and homes buried in mud which struck the tourist haven of Casamicciola Terme, which was hit by a non-fatal earthquake in 2017.
The island, which has around 20,000 permanent residents during the winter months, but hundreds of thousands of visitors during the summer, is known for its thermal mud and hot springs.
The island mayor Enzo Ferrandino said the entire island was under severe weather threat. “It’s a tragedy, the number of missing people in Casamicciola is still uncertain,” Ferrandino told Italian media. “Due to bad weather, we also have situations in other areas, such as flooding, but fortunately not particularly serious.”
Ferry service to the island has been suspended and electricity has been cut off as rescue workers dig out buried houses and cars. Italian media reports that at least 30 homes have been swept away—some into the sea.