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Storms, floods in Sicily kill at least 12 people; 2 missing

AP  |  Rome 

Storms lashing have killed at least 12 people with torrential floods, Italian authorities said as the country's headed Sunday to the stricken island.

Divers pulled out nine of those victims from a home flooded by a rapidly swelling river in the countryside near Palermo.

State TV broadcaster said the sole survivor of the flood that ravaged the home with water and mud was the owner, who had just stepped outside to walk the family dogs Saturday when the torrent hit.

reports said the man at first clung to a tree, then ended up on the roof of a nearby house. He used his cellphone to call for help but it was too late for the others, who included a one-year-old baby, a three-year-old child and a teenager. The victims were from two families who had gathered in the country villa for the weekend.

A man's body was also found on a guardrail along a Palermo-area road after floodwaters swept away his car, Italian reports said.

Across the island, in the town of Cammarata, near Agrigento, the fire department said its divers were working to recover the bodies of two people swept away while driving on a road near the flooding

Also in province, firefighters rescued 14 people from a hotel in the town of Montevago, which was threatened by floodwaters from the

Agrigento, famed for the ruins of ancient Greek temples, is a popular tourist destination.

Elsewhere in Sicily, at least two other people were missing Sunday after floodwaters swept away their cars, including a doctor heading to the hospital in the hill town of

Other storms had battered earlier in the week, killing at least 15 people, uprooting millions of trees near valleys and leaving several Italian villages without or road access for days.

In Casteldaccia, the hamlet where the river flooded the home in Sicily, neighbor said she, her husband and their adult disabled daughter fled after barking dogs drew their attention to the rising waters in the Milicia River, the Italian agency said.

It quoted the husband, Andrea Cardenale, as saying he drove away as "water was up to the hood of the car."

Rescuers retrieved the bodies from the home. A opened an investigation to determine if any human error, such as possible inadequate drainage of the river, might have played a role in the deaths.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, November 04 2018. 18:30 IST