Helicopters rescue campers in France amid flash floods

Helicopters rescue campers in France amid flash floods

Top Gard official Thierry Dousset told BFM-TV that about 750 people were evacuated from five campsites.

A British woman who was on holiday in the neighbouring Ardeche region said floodwaters that hit a site near one river were extraordinary.

Hardest hit was the Gard region, where 119 children, many of them from Germany, were evacuated from their campsite at Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said in a statement.

A 70-year-old German man who was helping to supervise children at a campsite was reported missing on Thursday after he was swept away in his caravan by floodwaters, police said.

Torrential rains Wednesday caused the heavy flooding in the Gard region.

Rescuers believe the man sought shelter in his camper when fast-flowing water burst the banks of the nearby L'Ardeche River, but the vehicle was swept away.

The local Gard government also said four German children were hospitalised for hypothermia in Bagnols-sur-Ceze.

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A total of 10 people in the region were hospitalized for minor injuries due to the flash floods.

The missing German was supervising the children at the camp.

More than 400 firefighters and gendarmes, many sent in from other regions, helped in the evacuations, using helicopters to spot campsites and occasionally to perform rescues.

Many roads in the area were left cut off, with the authorities urged members of the public to be prepared for more disruption.

Several parts of central and southeast France are on flood alert after a blazing heatwave ended abruptly in storms on Thursday.

Heavy rain meant tents were destroyed, while about 17,000 homes were without power.

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