The toll from devastating twin storms climbed to 80 on Wednesday as isolated areas reported deaths and damage to the outside world, and Mexican officials said that a massive landslide in the mountains north of the resort of Acapulco could drive the number of confirmed dead even higher.
Interior Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said federal authorities had reached the cutoff village of La Pintada by helicopter and had airlifted out 35 residents, four of whom were seriously injured in the slide. Officials have not yet seen any bodies, he said, despite reports from people in the area that at least 18 people had been killed.
“It doesn’t look good, based on the photos we have in our possession,” Osorio Chong said, while noting that “up to this point, we do not have any (confirmed) as dead in the landslide.” Osorio Chong told local media that “this is a very powerful landslide, very big ... You can see that it hit a lot of houses.”
Mayor Edilberto Tabares of the township of Atoyac told Milenio television that 18 bodies had been recovered and possibly many more remained buried in the remote mountain village. Atoyac, a largely rural township about 42 miles (70 kilometers) west of Acapulco, is accessible only by a highway broken multiple times by landslides and flooding.
Ricardo de la Cruz, a spokesman for the federal Department of Civil Protection, said the death toll had risen to 80 from 60 earlier in the day, although he did not provide details of the reports that drove it up.
In Acapulco, three days of Biblical rain and leaden skies evaporated into broiling late-summer sunshine that roasted thousands of furious tourists trying vainly to escape the city, and hundreds of thousands of residents returning to homes devastated by reeking tides of brown floodwater.
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