Torrential rain in the Pollino National Park area caused a sudden rush of flood water, rocks and mud through the Raganello creek where dozens of hikers had been exploring.
Carlo Tansi, head of civil protection in Calabria, told reporters on Monday that those hit by water were “catapulted out like bullets” and washed down the valley for about 3km (two miles).
“The Raganello Gorge is narrow and tall, it can get up to 1km (3,200ft) high,” Tansi said. “The gorge filled up with water in a really short time.”
So far 10 people are know to have lost their lives.