VALENCIA, Spain (AP) _ Torrential rains and flash floods on the east coast of Spain and its Mediterranean islands drowned three people and left three others missing Wednesday, police said.

The storms also knocked out telephone and power service to thousands of people and closed highways and airports, civil defense workers said.

On the island of Ibiza, Bruce McQueen of Britain and Francois D'Hont of Belgium drowned in stormy coastal waters, said a civil governor's spokeswoman on condition of anonymity.

In Valencia, on Spain's eastern coast, rescue workers Wednesday recovered the body of Jose Albert Marti, 24, of Alcacer, police said. He drowned in rushing flood waters that carried him five miles from his car, police said.

On the island of Majorca, next to Ibiza, flood waters also swept away a young Spanish woman and two children at Porto Colom, police said. They remained missing.

The torrential rainstorm began early Tuesday and dropped nearly 10 inches of rain along the 248-mile coastline, damaging buildings and ruining crops, the Civil Defense Agency said.

Telefonica, the national telephone company, said about 50,000 customers in Valencia province remained without service Wednesday. Thousands of households also remained without power.

The downpour mostly affected the provinces of Valencia, Alicante, Murcia and Almeria, the National Weather Service said.

The service predicted continued heavy rain for the region.

The heavy rain forced authorities to close airports in Valencia and Alicante, and they remained shut Wednesday. Floods also blocked roads and rail lines across the region, the Transport Ministry said.

Authorities declared a flood alert in Alicante Province, where the Segura River threatend to overflow its banks, provincial spokesman Enrique Simarro said.

Civil defense workers and army troops plugged breaches along the river near the town of Orihuela and dozens of families were evacuated, Simarro said.

In Valencia, a rich, agricultural region, rice growers estimated their losses due to flooding at $16.1 million.