Thunderstorms in the Var: Two People Drowned in a Vehicle, Cleaning Time

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Thunderstorms in the Var, two people drowned

Thunderstorms in the Var killed two people on Thursday. Cars washed away by the waters are still sought after. In Sainte-Maxime, the time is now to clean up.

Two people, a woman and a man , were found drowned Thursday on board a car carried off at sea off Sainte-Maxime , victims of violent storms and floods that hit the Var since Wednesday.

One of the victims of the flood has been identified as Françoise Barbé, 57, PCF municipal councilor in Gardanne (Bouches-du-Rhône) , said the mayor of Gardanne Roger Mei. The city has lowered its flags.

The victim reportedly called for help before the tragedy, according to a message posted on Facebook by his daughter. A criminal investigation was opened by the prosecutor’s office of the Var following a call Wednesday night to firefighters of a person being dragged by the water in his vehicle.

According to the Deputy Prosecutor of Draguignan (Var) Michaël Darras, the author of this appeal is probably one of two victims found. The investigation, opened for disturbing disappearances, has been turned into a search for the causes of death.

The second passenger of the car, a man, whose body was found shortly before 12.00, is from Corsica and born in 1963, according to the floor. Both bodies were transported to the Forensic Institute of Nice for autopsy.



The car, found at dawn stranded on the roof about fifteen meters from the beach of Issambres, at the mouth of the Garonette, a river that separates the municipalities of Sainte-Maxime and Roquebrune-sur-Argens, was out of the water in the morning. After being hidden behind tarpaulins, the time to clear the victims and lead the findings for the investigation, the carcass of a very saggy Citroën gray was visible on the beach in the afternoon.

Two people drowned in car after storms in Var
The carcass of the vehicle in which two victims were discovered on the Roquebrune-sur-Argens on October 11, 2018. (© AFP / CHRISTOPHE SIMON)

Four other wanted vehicles

Searches of four other vehicles also seen in the night being washed away continued intermittently on Thursday, weather permitting. The rain, which had calmed down in the morning, resumed again in the afternoon and the research had to be suspended. “The four cars have been identified but we do not know where they are,” it said sources concordant.

“Research is still going on, especially to check with the reported vehicles that we do not have anyone on board, but I think that at this moment we can be reassuring on this issue,” he said. the afternoon to the press the Director General of Civil Security Jacques Witkowski, who went to Sainte-Maxime.

Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Edouard Philippe “expressed his strong emotion” to this tragedy, bringing “all his support to the families and loved ones” of the two deceased persons.

Overflowing streams

The overflows of the Var rivers were caused by heavy rainfall throughout the department. Nearly 200 mm of water fell locally, on the nearby massif of the Moors. The Garonnette was still very strong Thursday, after uprooting and transported several large trees.

Vincent Morisse, Mayor of Sainte-Maxime , questioned by AFP, reported numerous property damage in his commune. Twenty homes were impacted in the sector of Issambres and 14 hangars flooded during cleaning. Firefighters in the Var carried out 275 interventions and about twenty people were rescued.

“We have several rivers that have overflowed at the same time with a particularly important violence (…) “It is a flood that would already be classified centennial, extremely rare and extremely violent.”

The inhabitants, helped by the firemen, were busy pumping the water that was engulfed in the cellars. The communal employees were collecting trucks of bamboos piled up in the gardens and streets or hung on the trees with trucks and backhoe loaders.

Several residents, angry, denounced “the town hall that cleared a short time ago and left these bamboo in bulk.” “Environmental policemen go by to check for potential jams – especially trees – and canes,” said Vincent Morisse. “These are the canes that keep the banks of watercourses, they are cut for aesthetic reasons,” he said.

At 4:00 pm, no French department was alert orange

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