The civil protection department said 23 people were rescued following the August 20 flooding in Raganello Creek, part of the Pollino National Park; many of them were hospitalized. One child has been evacuated in a state of hypothermia. At least three others are missing, too.
Eleven people were injured in the flash floods, out of whom those with serious injuries were admitted to hospitals in Cosenza and the rest in the city of Castrovillari, officials said.
Italy's Environment Minister Sergio Costa, who visited the area on Tuesday, said rescuers are now "99.9% sure" no one else is unaccounted for.
Piefrancesco Demilito, from the Civil Protection Agency, said some bodies were recovered miles away from where they were when flooding hit.
"Italy is exhausted of crying for the dead".
Italian prosecutors on Tuesday opened a criminal investigation into the deaths of the hikers. Rescue operations started immediately after a small stream near the village of Civita overflowed, the BBC reported. Imagine almost a kilometer (half a mile) in height.
Tourists can visit without a guide, making it hard to know exactly how many people were in the canyon when the floods hit.
Italian media reported that the dead were all Italians.
A local resident who helped respond to the emergency, identified only as Claudio, told ANSA that he helped two youths from Naples, who managed to climb out of the gorge on their own. He said they were washed almost two miles down the valley, BBC News reported.
The 12-kilometer- (71/2-mile-) long Raganello Gorge on the eastern side of the Pollino National Park is a popular aquatic trekking area, with trails that take in striking rock formations, waterfalls and clear pools. Guides include spelunkers and rescue instructors.