At least 40 people feared killed in Mexico landslide


Mexico City : Nearly 40 bus passengers buried in a landslide in central Mexico are now presumed dead, officials said.

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Rescue teams, with heavy machinery, have so far recovered 24 bodies from under tonnes of debris in the state of Puebla's Sierra Negra, some 350 km southeast of Mexico City. Only eight of the victims have been identified.

"We rule out that there may be survivors. Too many hours have passed," Joaquin Zepeda, of the state interior ministry, told DPA.

Authorities said Thursday about 35 to 40 people were believed to have been in the bus, though exact numbers could not be given. On Wednesday, the day of the accident, the figure was put at 40 to 60.

The weight of the landslide crushed the roof of the bus, leaving it just one metre above the ground, and complicating efforts to recover the bodies. Some reports said another vehicle travelling behind the bus was also buried in the landslide, but rescuers have not found it so far.

Rescue teams worked overnight to remove the debris in a difficult-to-reach wilderness area.

"The bus was totally buried because the collapse is very big. The landslide is 100-150 metres long and 20-25 metres deep," said German Garcia Pajares, the operations director in Puebla.

Coming during the rainy season, the mudslide occurred in the early morning when part of a hill broke off along a road in the community of Eloxochitlan near Tehuaca in Puebla.

The bus was travelling between several communities in the Sierra Negra. Peasants, workers and students usually travel between communities on buses each morning.