Rescuer drowns in bid to save trapped family as floods hit Spain

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 01 October, 2012, 4:43am


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A Spanish man drowned in a failed attempt to rescue a nine-year-old girl and her grandfather who became trapped inside a car during flash flooding, a local official said yesterday.

The girl was with her grandfather and 11-year-old brother when their car was caught in rapidly rising floodwaters on Friday near Puerto Lumbreras town in southeastern Spain.

A 60-year-old man, identified by Spanish media as Juan Asensio, tried to rescue the girl but he was swept away by the flood and died. The girl and her grandfather also drowned but the 11-year-old boy survived, reportedly by holding on to a lamp post.

"Three people died. We are still not sure how the boy managed to survive," said the official with the town hall.

Ten people in total have died in the Spanish regions of Andalusia and Murcia due to flash flooding brought on by downpour.

The heavy rains have also damaged homes, caused the collapse of two bridges and forced roads to close.

Hundreds of people - including municipal officials and volunteers - worked yesterday to sweep streets of mud and debris in both regions.

"This is a disaster, an authentic disaster," 75-year-old Antonio Lopez told the online edition of Murcia-based newspaper La Verdad as he watched the clean-up operation near his home in Puerto Lumbreras.

"The street was like a river. We could not go anywhere. It was incredible," he added.

Some 500 people were evacuated from their homes on Friday after the torrential rains caused rivers to break their banks, and flooded roads and railways. But most of those people have since returned home.

The rains drenched the south of the country before moving east and eventually north.