ROME (AFP) – A landslide triggered by torren-tial rain engulfed a house on the shores of Italy’s Lake Maggiore on Sunday, killing a pensioner and his granddaughter in what a neighbour described as a “horrific” tragedy.
The 70-year-old man died after the house was partially buried in a “sea of mud” un-leashed after the hill behind the building gave way as a result of the unprecedented volumes of rainfall experienced across swaths of northern Italy in the last two weeks.
Rescue workers managed to drag the 16-year-old granddaughter from the rubble after more than four hours of digging but she died later in hospital.
Her parents and grandmother survived. The family’s small, two-storey villa was the only property affected in Cerro, a hamlet on the outskirts of Laveno Mombello, a popular holiday spot.
A neighbour described how he had been awoken during the night by a huge bang “like fireworks”.
“Then my house began to shake. Firefighters and civil protection officers were there very quickly and started digging with spades, even with their bare hands. The parents were helping them… it was a horrific scene,” the neighbour told Italian television.