One dead and up to a dozen missing after landslide on Italian island

Rescuers stand next to a bus carried away after heavy rainfall triggered landslides. Credit: AP

Heavy rainfall triggered landslides on the southern Italian island of Ischia on Saturday, leaving one dead and as many as 12 missing.

Following early confusion about the death toll, Naples prefect Claudio Palomba told a news conference that the body of a woman was pulled from the mud.

The force of the mud sliding down mountainsides was strong enough to send cars and buses into the sea at the port of Casamicciola, on the north end of the island.

Streets were impassable and mayors on the island urged people to stay at home. At least 100 people were reported stranded.

Italian vice premier Matteo Salvini initially said that eight people had been confirmed dead. The interior minister later said that no deaths had yet been confirmed, while between 10 and 12 people were missing.

“The situation is very complicated and very serious because probably some of those people are under the mud,” interior minister Matteo Piantedosi told RAI state TV from an emergency command center in Rome.

ANSA reported that at least 10 buildings had collapsed. One family with a newborn that was previously reported missing had been located and was receiving medical care, according to the Naples prefect.

People remove mud from a house after heavy rainfall triggered landslides that collapsed buildings and left as many as 12 people missing. Credit: AP

Video from the island showed small bulldozers clearing roads, while residents used hoses to try and get mud out of their homes.

Firefighters and the Coast Guard were working on rescue efforts. Reinforcements arrived by ferry, including teams of sniffer dogs to help the search efforts.

The densely populated mountainous island is a popular tourist destination for both its beaches and spas. In 201, a 4.0-magnitude quake on the island killed two people, causing significant damage to the towns of Casamicciola and neighboring Lacco Ameno.

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