Ten people, including two firefighters, were reported missing on Friday in the Nice region (south-eastern France) following intense rains which caused floods described as “exceptional” by the meteorological agency Météo France.
Two firefighters were reported missing in the evening, while they were carrying out rescue operations, said the Alpes-Maritimes firefighters.
“These are two firefighters, a firefighter officer and a volunteer firefighter, who were taken away in their vehicle, colleagues saw them go into the water at Bollène-Vésubie”, told AFP the deputy of The Republicans party (LR) Eric Ciotti, present at the fire brigade operation center.
Local authorities first told AFP that two people were reported missing in Roquebillière, a town of 1,800 inhabitants located about fifty kilometers north of Nice.
It would be “two people taking refuge on the roof of a house, the house collapsed, the firefighters saw them leaving” in the water, told AFP Mr. Ciotti.
A third person was then reported missing in Tende, in the Mercantour park.
According to the last report of the firefighters, 5 other people were wanted, without details on the municipalities where they had been seen for the last time.
In the afternoon, a bridge had collapsed under water pressure in the same area, according to firefighters.
“The damage is considerable in Saint-Martin-Vésubie, which is the epicenter of the phenomenon, 235 mm of water fell in a few hours,” the LR deputy for Alpes-Maritimes told AFP.
The Alpes-Maritimes department is preparing to face the “peak” in precipitation later in the evening, with authorities advising residents not to go out.
The Var river, out of its bed, completely invaded the roadway as it approached Nice airport, noted an AFP journalist.
The city of Nice, on the Côte d’Azur, took precautionary measures on Friday, opening emergency accommodation centers and prohibiting access to the famous Promenade des Anglais by the sea.
Nice airport, the second in France after Paris airports, has advised travelers on Twitter “not to come to the airport and to approach their airlines”.
The Nice region was badly affected in the fall of 2019 by bad weather, which killed 14 people in two weeks in the south-east of France.