Flash floods leave 15 dead in southern France

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Fifteen people died in southern France and several more were missing after torrential rains triggered flash floods, officials said Wednesday in an updated death toll.

Rescuers scrambled overnight to help hundreds of people trapped in their vehicles, houses or on rooftops, in the Draguignan area near the Mediterranean coast, while helicopters were sent in to airlift residents to safety.

The death toll has climbed since early morning as rescuers found more bodies. State authorities in the Var department said earlier that 11 people had died and 12 were missing.

Around 1,850 firefighters, soldiers and police officers and 11 helicopters have been mobilised, officials said, adding that 1,500 calls for help had been received.

© 2010 AFP

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