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'I saw my car 'drown’'

Richard Scotto was jolted out of his sleep by last Monday’s early violent storm and immediately went to check on his treasured car parked in a rented garage down the hill from his house in Gżira.

I saw the hazard lights flickering. It was as though my car was asking for help

When he walked down the steep ramp leading to his underground garage he got the shock of his life. Wading in waist-high water, he found his Toyota Corolla submerged to the door handles.

“I realised there was no way I could save it. As I tried to run towards the car I tripped and ended up under water.

“My specs fell off and while under water, in the dark, I saw the hazard lights flickering. It was as though my car was asking for help,” he grimaced.

Mr Scotto also lost his Nokia phone and his spectacles in the ordeal but nothing could wipe out the sight of his beloved vehicle underwater, which has since been declared a total loss by his insurance’s surveyor.

Standing outside the dry garage, six days after Monday’s storm, Mr Scotto recalled: “If you had to look at it, it does not even have a single scratch. But it 'drowned'. The engine and electrical parts don’t work. It’s dead inside.”

He also kept his motorcycle in the garage but managed to wheel it out on Monday early morning. As the rain continued pouring later that day, his garage became completely clogged with water and his car was completely submerged.

He pointed towards a line halfway up the wall in the ramp area leading to the underground garages to show the extent of the rainwater level.

“I got the car on March 15, 2006, for €21,000. It was black metallic and I kept it in mint condition,” he said.

He looked after his car like one would care for a pet, washing it regularly, using the best waxes and feeding it the finest of oils. It was his hobby and his pride and joy.

“I worked very hard for it. I couldn’t believe what happened,” he said.

Mr Scotto had been garaging his car and motorcycle for two years and never experienced flooding, despite other heavy storms. But on Monday the draining system could not cope with the water and the garage filled up. Since then he has decided to stop using it.

The car was fully insured but it is little consolation as he takes his Toyota Corolla to be scrapped this week.

For now he does not plan to invest in another car but he will be holding on to his personalised number plates.

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