MILAN — Heavy rain flooded a gorge filled with hikers Monday in the southern region of Calabria, killing at least eight, Italy’s civil protection agency said. At least five were missing.

The prefect’s office said 23 people were rescued from the flash flood in the Raganello Gorge. They included a 10-year-old boy treated for hypothermia who was among seven that the civil protection agency said were hospitalized.

It was unclear how many people were missing but there were at least 36 hikers in two organized groups inside the gorge, a popular aquatic trekking spot. TV images showed rescuers scaling down the side of a steep rock face to bring hikers to safety.

Guides are not required, making it impossible to know how many people were on their own inside the canyon.

“The problem is we don’t know how many people were knocked over by this flood,” said Carlo Tansi, the head of civil protection in Calabri. “This is a split in the terrain that is very tight and high.”

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