Two people have been killed and nine injured – four seriously – after a tornado tore through the Italian island of Pantelleria. Residents describe the scene as ‘apocalyptic’.
Authorities say four of the nine injured are in a serious condition. A medical helicopter from neighbouring Lampedusa was initially unable to reach the island because of the bad weather.
Tornado ripped through the island
According to testimonies, the tornado ripped along a coastal road in seconds. One of the dead was an off-duty firefighter who was driving when his car got caught in the extreme winds.
“When we arrived at the scene, the cars were overturned and the drivers, unfortunately, were already dead. There was nothing to do. One body was thrown on a wall by the wind, the other was on the ground,” a witness told local media.
“We are still trying to figure out what happened,” said Vincenzo Campo, the mayor of Pantelleria.
“It was truly an apocalyptic scene,” an unnamed paramedic told the Italian newspaper la Repubblica. “At the moment there are two confirmed deaths, but searches are continuing, and we are making sure there are no missing. The tornado came from the sea and in a few seconds it ripped houses and cars that were travelling along the coastal road.”
Where is Pantelleria?
Pantelleria is one of the islands that comes under the province of Trapani. It sits about 100km southwest of Sicily and 60km from the Tunisian coast.
Once a huge volcano, it has hot springs and attracts thousands of tourists every year. Giorgi Armani owns a luxury villa there.