Firefighter killed as torrential rain, floods hit southern Spain

Flooding hits Malaga, Spain, Oct. 18, 2018. EPA-EFE/FILE/Daniel Pérez

Malaga, Spain, Oct 21 (Eefe-epa).- A firefighter who was swept away by flood water when the truck he was traveling in overturned amid torrential rainstorms in southern Spain has been found dead, the emergency services confirmed.

Two other firefighters in the vehicle were rescued at the scene of the accident on a road between the towns of Campillos and Teba, located in the province of Malaga in Spain’s Andalusia region, parts of which have been placed on red alert for flooding.

“Our colleague Jose Gil has died in the line of duty,” Malaga’s provincial firefighter association said in a statement on Twitter.

“Our heartfelt condolences to his family,” it added.

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez also shared his condolences on Twitter.

Spain’s meteorological agency Aemet warned that parts of Malaga province could expect around 180mm (seven inches) of rainfall in a twelve hour period.

Emergency services in Andalusia said they had received over 500 calls linked to the adverse weather.

In the town of Campillos, one of the worst-hit areas, around 100 people have been forced to leave their homes and seek shelter with family or friends due to flooding, while around 20 people had to be rescued from a garage roof where they were trapped while trying to escape the deluge.

“The situation is hellish,” the Mayor of Campillos, Francisco Delgado told EFE, adding that he had requested backup from Spain’s military emergencies unit (UME).

In a nearby area, a bus carrying 66 passengers and 15 cars was stranded on a flooded road.

The adverse weather has been attributed to a meteorological phenomenon known as a cold drop, which occurs when polar air forms a slow jet stream over Western Europe, bringing torrential rain, particularly to southern Spain.

In recent weeks, rainstorms have battered areas of southern and eastern Spain, as well as the Balearic islands, where flash floods on Oct. 9 claimed the lives of 13 people.

The red alerts for adverse weather in Malaga are set to remain in place until midday Sunday.