NEWS

Three people dead after storms lash the Aegean

Three people were reported killed and one missing yesterday after heavy storms lashed several islands in the southern Aegean, where winds reached 10 Beaufort, causing extensive flooding and road damage. A British couple drowned yesterday after going swimming off the island of Rhodes despite a storm warning. Witnesses said they said they saw the pair struggling in 2-meter waves. Meanwhile on Crete, a truckdriver was killed late on Tuesday after being swept away by a mudslide near the port of Hania. Rescue workers in Hania yesterday located the vehicle of a 54-year-old Briton, missing since Tuesday night after floodwaters washed his car off the road, but there was no sign of the motorist. The bad weather caused extensive flood damage to homes, stores and hotels on both Crete and Rhodes, where the fire service received dozens of calls to drain water from buildings and rescue motorists trapped in their cars. On Rhodes, raging floodwaters swept 10 parked cars into the sea, wrecked roads and provoked landslides. Authorities yesterday declared a state of emergency in the Cretan prefecture of Hania as well as the islands of Leros and Astypalaia in the Dodecanese, which were also badly hit by storms. On Astypalaia, landslides blocked local roads and police reportedly rescued an elderly man who had been carried off by floodwaters. Roads on Leros were seriously damaged. The Civil Protection Agency urged authorities and citizens to be vigilant today as the bad weather is set to continue, particularly in the Aegean, the Dodecanese and the Cyclades. Those who have booked ferry tickets should check with their local port authority before traveling.