German missing after floods rip through French campsite

Marseille (AFP) –


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

The man was accompanying a group of around 100 German children who were evacuated from a campsite in Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas, some 60 kilometres (37 miles) north of Avignon.

Trapped by a muddy, fast-flowing torrent after the Ardeche river burst its banks he sought shelter inside his caravan, but the vehicle was swept away.

It was later found "empty and in pieces" near the river, police said.

He was the only person unaccounted for after a rescue operation at three campsites in the area, where a heatwave ended abruptly this week in storms that caused flash flooding.

Divers were taking part in the search for the missing man, an AFP journalist at the scene said.

Around 160 others, including the group of children from the German city of Leverkusen, were brought to safety.

Four people were taken to hospital, one suffering from hypothermia and three others from minor injuries.

Several parts of central and southeast France are on flood alert after weeks of blazing temperatures erupted in storms on Thursday, turning several campsites into mudbaths.

Around 17,000 homes in the southwest and northeast were without power.