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Seven people missing in France after floods wash vehicles away

Seven people, including two children, are missing in southeastern France after floods swept cars away.

"Extremely violent episodes" brought "very heavy rainfall" in Gard and Ardeche overnight, Gerald Darmanin, the interior minister, said on Sunday.

Searches are under way for six people in Gard and one person in Ardeche after vehicles were found but without the people, Mr Darmanin added.

In Gard, divers joined rescue teams to search for three members of a family who went missing when their car was swept away at about 11.30pm.

The vehicle was about to cross a submersible bridge, according to France Info.

The 40-year-old mother was rescued by firefighters and taken to hospital but her husband and two children aged 4 and 13 were still missing.

Frederic Loiseau, secretary general of the prefecture, said it was hard to say if they will be found quickly.

He said there were 32 firefighters involved including 20 water rescuers, 21 vehicles, two drones, a dog team and a police helicopter.

In a separate incident, two women aged 47 and 50 were also missing in Gard after getting into difficulties on another submersible bridge.

The pair, who were travelling to Spain, called emergency services at 5.10am, but the call dropped out, Mr Loiseau said, adding that 28 firefighters, a drone and a helicopter have joined search teams.

A 62-year-old Belgian man was also missing after a car was swept away in a town north of Gard.

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Mr Loiseau said it was the worst flooding in Gard for a decade.

About 250 firefighters and four helicopters responded to incidents during the night, local radio station France Bleu Gard-Lozère said on its website.

In a separate incident in Ardeche, the manager of a hydroelectric plant working went missing on Saturday evening, Agence Radio France said, quoting police and the AFP news agency.