Black day on the Costa del Sol as first fatality confirmed and many rescued

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Guardia Civil/Facebook
RESCUED: The Guardia Civil have been using a helicopter to airlift residents to safety in the Guadalhorce Valley.

AS PRESIDENT of the Andalucian community, Susana Diaz, arrived in Malaga to visit the Centre of Emergencies and show solidarity for the thousands of home and business owners thought to have been affected by the widespread flooding, new of the first fatality broke.

A Romanian woman aged between 27 and 30-years-old drowned in a room of an Estepona night club where she worked.

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She had called emergency services after becoming trapped by the rising water, but they failed to arrive in time, finding the club completely flooded after being forced to break down the door.

An electrical storm, which stunned residents later described as being “the strongest in living memory” hit the Estepona area at around 4am and caused extensive chaos, with many people having been forced out of their homes.

Elsewhere, firefighters in Malaga City managed to rescue a man who became trapped in the pedestrian tunnel next to the Hacienda building, while three women were also saved on the Guadalhorce industrial estate.

President of the Industrial Estates Association of Malaga, Sergio Cuberos, confirmed that “the Santa Cruz estate is just a massive lake,” adding that “we have not seen anything like this since the floods in 1989.”

The driver of a public bus service that was almost entirely engulfed by a wall of water as the rio Guadalhorce broke its banks early in the day managed to escape unharmed, having been aided by two colleagues a few metres from the company’s garage.

Further rescues were necessary after the rio Guadalhorce also overflowed near Cartama, with residents of the Doña Alta neighbourhood being airlifted to safety, while brave volunteers, including the town mayor Jorge Gallardo, used canoes and inflatable dinghies to save a number of greyhounds belonging to a local association.

Some citizens are being housed in the municipal sports centre after being rescued from the roofs of their houses, in one case the bonnet of a car.

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An emergency centre has also been created in Sabinillas town hall in order for victims to report damage, with anyone needing to be relocated urged to contact the local police.

In Mijas, the ‘Protectora de Animales’ animal shelter was completely flooded, leading to an urgent Facebook request for volunteers to help evacuate the animals, some of which managed to escape amid the mayhem.

The majority were saved due to the “overwhelming” response from volunteers, and the municipal Hippodrome is being used as a temporary shelter.

In Torremolinos, a huge pine tree fell onto the local police force’s dog training centre, destroying the perimeter wall and an empty cage, though none of the thirteen canine residents were injured.

As reports of further accidents, landslides and flash floods continued to break, Spanish president Mariano Rajoy tweeted his support, as he wrote: “Intense rains in the province of Malaga, the FCSE and Emergencies are working in the region to help the residents. We are with them.”

Anyone wishing to search for updates on the situation, or post photos and videos is encouraged to use the hashtag #TrombaMLG.

More updates to follow.

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