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Hundreds evacuated from campsites as southern France hit by flash flooding
11 August 2018, 04:39 | Ross Houston
Image The flooded Gorges de L'Ardeche seen from a helicopter
A 70-year-old German man was said to be missing after reportedly being swept away inside his van at one campsite.
He was sheltering inside the caravan - said by police to have later been found "empty and in pieces" - after being trapped by muddy, fast-flowing water after the Ardeche river burst its banks.
The worst hit areas are Gard, Ardèche and Drôme, which are all popular holiday sites.
Four German citizens were also taken to hospital for hypothermia.
The mayor of Bagnols, Jean-Yves Chapelet, told BFM-TV many Dutch tourists were among the 350 campers evacuated there.
"The level and speed of the river today was extraordinary - we woke up in about a foot of water".
The public prosecutor for the region confirmed to AFP that the president and vice-president of the association that brought the children from Leverkusen to the village of Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas were being held on suspicion of causing unintentional injury and endangering the lives of others.
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'Driving in our camper van was very frightening as the road by the river was completely under water and waterfalls had appeared from nowhere, crashing down the gorge'.
Hundreds of firefighters and police took part in the rescue operations, using helicopters to help spot affected campsites and carry out some people.
French rescuers are still searching for an elderly German man who went missing after floodwaters ripped through a campsite in southern France on Thursday.
Several parts of central and southeast France are on flood alert after a blazing heatwave ended abruptly in storms on Thursday.
Many roads in the area were left cut off, with the authorities urged members of the public to be prepared for more disruption.
Heavy rain meant tents were destroyed, while about 17,000 homes were without power.
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