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Updated: Two bodies found in southern France after flash floods sweep cars out to sea

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Updated: Two bodies found in southern France after flash floods sweep cars out to sea
Illustration photo. AFP
11:44 CEST+02:00
Two bodies from the same car were found on Thursday morning after several vehicles were swept out to sea during violent storms and torrential rain in the south of France.

The local authority chief of the Var department on the south east coast said that several vehicles had been taken by the sea between Saint-Maxime and Roquebrune, where there was 210mm of rainfall over night.

The bodies of two passengers, a man and a woman from the same vehicle, were found on Thursday morning. 

The cars were washed out to sea at around 11pm after the river Garonnette burst its banks.

It is still unclear whether the other vehicles were occupied.

The search had to be called off due to poor visibility and the dirtiness of the sea, but began again on Thursday morning. Around 100 firefighters have been drafted in for the search.

 

Earlier, Var prefect Jean-Luc Videlaine feared that the storm had claimed victims but that it was too early to tell how many.

He recommended members of the public avoid driving and stay out of underground garages.

"By trying to save your car you can put yourself in serious danger," he said.

Storms and torrential rain hit the Var from Wednesday afternoon with the Gulf of St Tropez suffering the worst of the extreme weather.

The Var was one of several departments that had been on alert for violent storms on Wednesday. By Thursday the Orange level warning - the second highest - had been switched to a flood warning with river levels rising dangerously high.

In Frejus the local authority was preparing to evacuate two campsites out of precaution as the level of the Argens river continued to rise.

The departments of Alpes-Maritimes and the island of Corsica remained on alert for storms on Thursday.

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