Rescuers pull third body from Sardinian town buried by mud

National & World News

Cars among other debris litter the street in Bitti, Sardinia, Italy, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. The town of Bitti in Sardinia was hit by a storm and flooded by a massive mudslide on Saturday. (Vigili del Fuoco via AP)

ROME (AP) — Rescuers on Sunday retrieved the body of an elderly woman, the third fatality in the Sardinian town of Bitti, which was partially buried a day earlier by mudslides after torrential rainfall.

The Italian news agency LaPresse said that the corpse of the 89-year-old victim had washed downhill from near her home to the town basketball court.

On Saturday, the bodies of the two other victims were found. One was a rancher who was caught up in the raging muddy waters on his way home; the other was a 90-year-old man in his home.

The mud in the streets reached the second floor of many buildings. Rescue crews and residents on Sunday, walking on top of the heavily packed mud, found themselves flanking upper-story balconies in the town of 2,700 people in east-central Sardinia in the province of Nuoro. The floodwaters and mounds of mud overturned and smashed cars, leaving vehicles half-buried in dirt and debris.

Geologists noted that the storm-triggered calamity was the latest of several similar ones, including one in November 2013 that claimed 19 lives, to afflict the Mediterranean island. They stressed that many inhabited areas were developed on geologically unstable terrain.

Sardinia Gov. Christian Solinas on Sunday lamented what he said was “excessive bureaucracy” in the failure to implement projects, funded in the wake of the 2013 flooding, to make areas of the island geologically safe.

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