British tourist among the dead as Madeira sees worst storm in a century

22nd Feb 2010
British tourist among the dead as Madeira sees worst storm in a century

At least 42 people have died following flash flooding on the Portuguese island of Madeira, with at least one British tourist feared among the dead.

A torrential storm swept across the island on Saturday, with police and rescuers now searching through mud and debris for survivors. At least four people remain missing, local officials confirmed, with warnings the death toll could rise and rescuers reached towns cut off by mudslides and rock falls.

Over 120 people were injured during the disaster, which is being described as the worst on the island for over a century.

Pamela Gaines, from Garton on the Wolds, East Yorkshire, was among those killed by the deluge. The 50-year-old Briton has been travelling in a taxi with her husband and two fellow British friends when it was swept away by a swollen river on Saturday morning.

The death was confirmed by the Foreign Office, with the UK’s Portuguese ambassador Alex Ellis confirming British officials were visiting hospitals in a search for missing British holidaymakers.


A “handful” of the 2,000 British visitors to the island were among the injured, according to the Foreign Office.

The Portuguese government is holding a Cabinet meeting this morning, with three days of mourning for the victims expected to be announced.

The government may also grant financial aid to rebuild Madeira’s wrecked roads and bridges following the disaster.

The majority of hotels had been largely unaffected, according to UK travel association ABTA. The association also said, while some flights were cancelled and delayed on Saturday, travellers due to head to the island in the next week should be unaffected by events.


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