NIMES, France (AFP) - Two Germans have been charged for causing unintentional injury and endangering the lives of others after they brought a group of teenagers to an unauthorised campsite in southern France, where a man was swept away by floods, French prosecutors said on Saturday (Aug 11).
The men, who were not named, were the president and vice-president of a charitable foundation that brought had children from Leverkusen in Germany’s industrial Rhineland region to the village of Saint-Julien-de-Peyrolas, said Eric Maurel, the public prosecutor for the region.
On Thursday, 119 children were evacuated from the site, about 60 kilometres (37 miles) north of Avignon in the Gard region, after the Ardeche river burst its banks, swamping the campground in a fast-flowing, muddy torrent.
Nine children suffered minor injuries.
A German man, who was with the group, was swept away by the floodwaters in his caravan or travel trailer, which was later found “empty and in pieces” near the river.
On Saturday, rescue workers continued to search for the man, who was named by police as Rudolf Rogowski, aged 66.
The emergency services described scenes of panic on Thursday as waist-high water surged through the campground, with children found “dangling from the trees”.
Maurel said local authorities had warned the German group earlier this week that the site was at risk of flooding after the heatwave that had left France parched ended with dramatic storms.
The youngsters were evacuated to a community hall where they spent the night, along with other holidaymakers.