Heavy rain triggered landslides on the southern Italian island of Ischia early Saturday, causing buildings to collapse and cars to be swept into the sea. As many as 12 people were missing, and the mayor of Naples was quoted by the ANSA news agency as saying one body had been recovered.
The force of the mud pouring down the mountainsides was strong enough to send cars and buses into the sea at the port of Casamicciola Terme on the north side of the island near Naples. Streets were impassable and mayors on the island urged people to stay home. At least 100 people are said to have been stranded.
There was confusion over the death toll. Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini initially said eight deaths had been confirmed. The interior minister later said no deaths had been confirmed, but 10 to 12 people were missing.
“The situation is very complicated and very serious because probably some of those people are covered in mud,” Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi told RAI state television from an emergency command center in Rome.
ANSA reported that at least 10 buildings had collapsed. A family with a newborn was reported missing but was subsequently located and received medical attention, the prefect of Naples said.
Firefighters and the Coast Guard were engaged in rescue efforts. Reinforcements arrived by ferry, including teams of sniffer dogs to assist in the search for survivors.
The densely populated mountainous island is popular with both locals and tourists for its beaches and spas. A magnitude 4 earthquake on the island in 2017 killed two people and caused significant damage to Casamicciola Terme and neighboring Lacco Ameno.