A huge water spout has been spotted off the coast of southwest Italy.

The column of rotating air and water caused damage to freight containers in the port of Salerno, but there were no reports of injuries.

Footage and images of the spout were shared widely on social media, with locals remarking it was “very lucky indeed that there were no causalities”.

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A waterspout – a vortex that forms from water descending from clouds before or during a storm at a time of high humidity – forms over a body of water, but quickly dissipates over land.

They are most common in tropical and subtropical waters, such as around the islands of Greece and off the east coast of Australia.

The average water spout is about 165 feet wide and has a wind speeds of 50 miles per hour, about the same as a weak tornado on land.

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