Hillside collapses on Guatemalan town, killing 25; hundreds missing

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Baku, October 3, AZERTAC

The collapse of a hillside onto a town on the edge of Guatemala City killed at least 25 people and left hundreds missing on Friday, as rescue crews searched for survivors in homes buried by dirt and sludge, according to Reuters.

Loosened by heavy rains, tons of dirt and trees tumbled onto Santa Catarina Pinula in a valley on the southeastern flank of the capital late on Thursday, flattening dozens of flimsy houses when many residents had gone home for the night.

An aerial video broadcast in Guatemalan media showed the tree-lined hillside laid bare above a huge mound of earth, foliage and debris that completely covered part of the town, which hugs the side of a river in a deep ravine.

Scores of rescue workers labored until nightfall to recover bodies from the tangle of mangled walls, beds and furniture churned up in the landslide. A Reuters photo showed the face of one person who had apparently been buried alive.

Alejandro Maldonado, head of Guatemalan disaster agency CONRED, told a news conference that as many as 600 people could still be missing after the disaster, which he said hit 125 homes.

Fire services spokesman Julio Sanchez said 25 bodies had been recovered at the scene, just short of a figure of 26 deaths he had earlier stated.

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