Madeira death toll could hit more than 70

Cars are piled up and half buried under rocks in Santo Antonio, a village outside Funchal, the Madeira Island's capital, yesterday.

Emergency crews were searching yesterday for 32 people still missing amid fears that flash floods and landslides may have claimed more than 70 lives on the Portuguese holiday island. Authorities have confirmed the weekend storm killed at least 42 people.

Rescue teams with sniffer dogs, Navy divers and bulldozers were involved in a fourth day of emergency operations yesterday. Officials were checking whether bodies were trapped in piles of debris or in submerged underground car parks.

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But they suspect those still unaccounted for may have been swept out to sea.

Portugal is observing three days of mourning for the victims.

Among them was Pamela Gaines, 50, from Garton-on-the-Wolds in East Yorkshire. She was travelling with her husband Philip and two British friends who were in a taxi which was swept away by water. The taxi driver also died but her husband and the other couple escaped.

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