Rafael Nadal's incredible gesture for flood victims

World No.1 tennis star Rafael Nadal has taken part in the recovery efforts after a torrential rainstorm caused flash flooding and killed at least 10 people in Mallorca.

The Spaniard sprung into action after the town of Sant Llorenc des Cardassar, about 60 kilometres east of the island’s capital Palma, was devastated by the rainstorm.

Nadal first offered rooms at his tennis academy to victims who had been left without a place to stay.

“Today is a sad day in Mallorca. Our heartfelt condolences to the relatives of those who died from the floods of Sant Llorenç,” the academy wrote on Twitter.

“Today we return to offer the rooms of the #RafaNadalSportsCentre and of the Academy for all the affected ones that need accommodation.”

Approximately 50 people had stayed at the academy the previous night.

Currently sidelined from the tennis court with a knee injury, Nadal paused his recovery and drove from his home in nearby Porto Cristo to Sant Llorenc.

Joining other volunteers around the town, Nadal picked up a broom and was pictured clearing water and mud from houses and properties.

Authorities said 80 soldiers and seven vehicles from the military’s emergency unit had joined more than 100 rescuers who had been working in the area overnight.

In all, more than 500 people helped with rescue and cleaning up operations, as authorities said the rainstorm was unlike any people could remember.

After opening his academy to flood victims, Rafael Nadal volunteered to help clear homes of water and mud. Pic: AP

They described it as both intense and localized in a narrow stretch of land, which led to the overflowing of a creek that cuts through the town.

Videos shot on mobile phones by local residents showed a strong current of water and mud that buried cars and tore trees on its way down the streets of the town of 8,000.

Swamped streets and piles of overturned cars, some of them along the guardrails of a major road, were a common sight in Sant Llorenc and other nearby towns on Wednesday.

Two Britons and two local residents died in Sant Llorenc, the town’s deputy mayor, Antonia Bauza, told Cadena SER radio.

A Balearic Islands’ emergency services spokeswoman, who wasn’t authorized to be named in media reports, told The Associated Press that the body of a Dutch woman was also recovered from the garage of a house in Arta, another nearby town.

Other victims were found in Arta and the coastal village of S’illot, where the creek that overflowed reaches the sea.

Rescuers with inflatable boats and divers were looking for vehicles that were believed to be dragged by the current into the sea.

“It all happened in less than 10 minutes,” an unidentified witness with wet clothes told the public broadcaster TVE. “We had to swim to try to survive.”

Others were caught on the road, unable to reach their houses. Angela Alfaro had to spend the night in a shelter because a road section leading to Sant Llorenc had collapsed. When she finally made it home on Wednesday, all she found was chaos.

“As far as I know, I have lost everything,” she told an AP camera crew. “This looks like the end of the world.”

Another resident, Tomas Oliver, cleaned his house as he celebrated that all the damage in his household had been material.

“We are grateful that we are all alive, but we pray for those that have lost their lives to this huge flood,” Oliver said.

with AP