Germans held after flooding at ‘unauthorised’ French campsite

NBN World News
NBN World News
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Media captionHeavy floods hit southern France

Two Germans have been placed under formal investigation in France after bringing children to an “unauthorised” campsite that was flooded on Thursday.

The two, who head a German charitable foundation, are suspected of causing unintentional injury and endangering the lives of others.

More than 100 children were evacuated from the camp in Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas, in the southern Gard region. Nine of them were injured.

A German supervisor is still missing.

Trapped by a fast-flowing torrent, the man, believed to be 70 year old, had sought shelter inside his caravan – but the vehicle was swept away.

It was later found “empty and in pieces”, according to police.

In all, about 1,600 people – most of them campers – were evacuated after heavy flooding in the southern Ardeches region.

What is known about the Germans?

The two men, whose names have not been publicly released, are president and vice-president of the Jugendförderung Saint-Antonius association in the northern city of Leverkusen, French media report.

They were held on Friday on the orders of the public prosecutor’s office in Nîmes.

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Tents were destroyed in the Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas campsite

They are also under investigation for “running an unauthorised campsite” in Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas.

They could potentially be charged for manslaughter if the missing German man is confirmed dead.

A search operation is continuing.

On Thursday, the river Ardèche burst its banks, swamping the campsite.

One camper told French network BFMTV they could hear the children’s cries “in the branches”, but were unable to reach them.

The children were later evacuated. Nine of them had minor injuries.

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