BRATISLAVA: Three women drowned in a flash flood as they tried to rescue dogs from an inundated animal shelter in central Slovakia, the prime minister said.
The women had responded to an emergency appeal issued Wednesday in the town of Revuca after heavy rain caused a river to burst its banks.
Identified by local media only as Zuzana, Katka and Zdenka, all three worked at another animal shelter in the nearby town of Roznava, 300 kilometres (185 miles) east of the capital Bratislava.
The women managed to load the dogs into their vehicle but were swept away by floodwaters on the return journey.
“The information is confirmed, all three women died,” Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini told journalists in Bratislava.
Emergency services spokesman Erik Piater told the TASR newswire that rescuers had recovered the remains of one woman and were still searching for the other bodies.
Tragedy also struck in western Slovakia on Wednesday as 12 people were killed, including four students, when a public bus carrying school children collided with a truck loaded with rocks and soil.
The Slovak government has declared Friday a national day of mourning.