( dpa ) - Eight people marooned on an island in a flooded river in Zimbabwe for more than five days are now feared dead, state television reported late Monday.
Two others also stranded on the island were rescued. Two children were among those trapped on the island in the middle of the Mutirikwi River in Zimbabwe's southern Masvingo province late last week .
"The air force moved in with rescue efforts but only managed to rescue two from the 10 who had been marooned," the television said.
No trace could be found of the missing eight after a four-hour search by a force of Zimbabwe helicopters downstream, the report said.
Attempts to rescue the stranded villagers earlier were hampered by rising floodwaters and heavy rains.
If confirmed, the flood deaths bring to 40 the number of people known to have perished since heavy rains hit Zimbabwe early in December. The floods have displaced hundreds of families, destroyed homes and swept away livestock in low-lying districts in the north and south-east of the country.
"The search goes on but the authorities are not sure whether they're looking for live bodies," the television said.
Early this month, two girls were reported marooned on an island on a river in Sanyati, Mashonaland West province. There has been no further news on their fate.