Two people were killed and nine injured after a tornado swept through the Italian island of Pantelleria in the Mediterranean, leaving a path of destruction. The whirlwind ripped roofs and knocked over at least six cars, with residents calling the scene “doomsday.”
Four of the nine injured are in serious condition, authorities said. A helicopter from the hospital on the nearby island of Lampedusa was initially unable to reach the island for rescue due to bad weather.
The dead include a firefighter on leave who was driving his car when it was caught in extreme winds, according to the Italian civil protection agency.
Reportedly, the tornado ravaged a coastal road within seconds.
“When we arrived at the scene, the cars overturned and the drivers, unfortunately, were already dead. There was nothing to do. One body was thrown against a wall by the wind, the other was on the ground, ”a witness told local media.
“We are still trying to understand what happened,” said Vincenzo Campo, the mayor of Pantelleria.
“It was truly an apocalyptic scene,” an anonymous paramedic from the site told Italian newspaper La Repubblica. “At the moment there are two confirmed deaths, but research is continuing and we are ensuring that there are no missing. The tornado came from the sea and within seconds it ripped apart houses and cars traveling along the coastal road.
Photographs posted on social media show cars being thrown into houses, other badly damaged or overturned vehicles, and flooded streets.
Once a huge volcano, Pantelleria – nicknamed the black pearl of the Mediterranean – is famous for its thermal waters and attracts thousands of tourists every year, including Sting and Giorgio Armani, who owns a luxury villa there.