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Corsica death toll rises to five after shock storms

The island was hit with winds of over 200km/h this morning. A fisherman and a kayakist are the latest victims

The beach at Île-Rousse on Corsica. The island was hit by violent and sudden storms this morning with winds of over 200km/h recorded in places Pic: Jon Ingall / Shutterstock

Two more people are now reported to have died in the storms that saw Corsica battered with 200km/h winds this morning, bringing the death toll to five.

A fisherman in Girolata (Corse-du-Sud) and a kayakist in Erbalunga (Haute-Corse) have also been reported as dead. 

It follows an earlier announcement that declared three people had died. 

This includes a 13-year-old girl who was killed when a tree collapsed onto the bungalow she was in at a campsite around Sagone, a seaside resort in the south of the island. 

Read more: Girl of 13 among five killed as surprise storms batter Corsica

Read more: France storms: What to do (and what not to do) to stay safe

A 72-year-old woman was also killed in Coggia also in the south after the roof of a hut fell onto her car. 

A 46-year-old man was also killed at a campsite in Calvi. French radio network RTL described him as a "French tourist".

At least 13 other people are reported to be injured, two of whom are in a serious state. An Italian woman is reported to be in a critical state. 

France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin is visiting the island this afternoon.

“I offer my full support to the Corsicans who have faced violent storms, with wind gusts of over 200 km/h,” he tweeted. 

The storm appears to have surprised weather services, with Météo-France only placing the two Corsican departments on orange storm alert at the last minute this morning. That alert was downgraded to yellow at 11:00 but the island has been again placed on orange alert for storms for this evening. 
The wind gusts expected from the thunderstorms tonight (August 18) will be much less violent than those observed on in the morning, but the intense rainstorms are expected to last longer.

115 sea rescue missions took place 

Following the storm, 115 sea rescue operations took place around midday. 

“Many small boats were surprised by the violent and sudden phenomenon,” the spokesman for the maritime prefect of the Mediterranean, Pierre-Louis Josselin, told Franceinfo. 

He said that rescue operations are ongoing. 

Gilles Simeoni, president of the Conseil exécutif de la collectivité de Corse, described the flash storms as an “apocalyptic scenario that lasted just one hour”.

“We are groggy,” he said.

He said that French President Emmanuel Macron phoned him in the morning to ask about the situation and to express “emotion” at the disaster.

Mr Simeoni also welcomed Mr Darmanin’s decision to visit, saying gestures like this matter.

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